Smallest Preemie Baby Ever Recorded Home After 5 Months in Hospital–She ‘Weighed As Much As an Apple’

June 4, 2019 Updated: June 4, 2019

Born at just 23 weeks’ gestation, she weighed as much as a large apple.

Baby “Saybie” has claimed the title as the smallest surviving baby, weighing just 8.6 ounces (approx. 244 g). And after spending almost five months in the neonatal intensive care unit, Saybie was released from a San Diego hospital in May, NPR reported.

The mother wished to remain anonymous, and the baby’s real name was not released by the parents either.

The University of Iowa’s Tiniest Babies Registry has confirmed that Saybie is the smallest baby on their record.

“Baby Saybie has the lowest birth weight among the infants in the Tiniest Babies Registry,” Dr. Edward Bell of the University of Iowa told NPR. “The registry contains only those infants submitted and medically confirmed. We cannot rule out even smaller infants who have not been reported to the registry.”

Due to pregnancy complications, Saybie’s mother was taken to Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, where she had to undergo an emergency cesarean section at just 23 weeks. The doctors realized that the baby was not gaining weight, and they also believed the mother’s life was at risk.

“It was the scariest day of my life,” the mother said in a video produced by Sharp HealthCare.

“I kept telling them that she’s not going to survive, I’m only 23 weeks.”

After the delivery, doctors told her husband that they had only an hour to spend with her, and that she would not live.

“But, that hour turned into two hours, which turned into a day, which turned into a week,” said Saybie’s mother.

Saybie was just half the weight of a normal 23-weeker according to registered nurse Emma Wiest from Sharp Mary Birch NICU. Babies born earlier than 28 weeks are called “micro preemies.” Babies are typically born at 40 weeks.

As such a tiny baby, Saybie faced many medical challenges, such as potential brain and lung troubles. She was also vulnerable to infection because she has spent less time connected to her mother’s blood supply. Survival in such instances is rare.

“We do everything we know how to do as well as we can, and after that it’s really up to our babies,” said nurse Spring Bridges. “Some really have the strength to go through what they have to go through and grow outside the womb.”

The nurses tending Saybie put up signs around her crib marking all of her milestones. And after nearly five months, Saybie “graduated” from the NICU. They marked the occasion by placing a tiny graduation cap on her head and taking photos.

Saybie was a full 7 grams (approx. a quarter of an ounce) lighter than the previous record holder, a baby born in Germany at just 25 weeks in 2015.

At the day of her release, Saybie weighed a much healthier 5 pounds (approx. 2 kg).

Although there are many factors that play into Saybie’s survival, some believe there were higher powers at work. As NICU nurse Kim Norby simply stated, “She’s a miracle.”