After more than four months, a baby born prematurely weighing just 12 ounces has finally gone home.
Ariana Cruz Gutierrez was born on March 9. Her mother, Claudia Cruz, had to be induced 24 weeks into her pregnancy because of concerns about hypertension brought on by the pregnancy. Of course, there were no guarantees with a baby delivered that premature.
“When the baby was born, we were uncertain of what could happen,” says Gutierrez. “The baby could die, but with God’s help and blessing, and the incredible work of the people here, everything has turned out well.”
At just 12 ounces, Ariana was not breathing when she was delivered. But doctors were able to resuscitate her. At one point, her weight dropped as low as eight ounces. However, doctors in the NICU at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Maryland helped her survive all these months.
“She was our smallest survivor,” said Dr. Suzanne Rindfleisch, director of the hospital’s NICU. “It was a long and difficult course for her, but she has a bright future ahead.”
Rindfleisch believes that her parents being at Ariana’s side throughout the recovery process helped the baby survive.
“Her parents were by her side all these months,” adds Rindfleisch. “The family involvement was crucial. The attention they gave her and how they fought for her.”
Last week, weighing a whopping 4 pounds and 15 ounces, Ariana’s parents were finally able to take her home, nearly five months after she was born. Her tongue stuck out just a tad and her brown eyes were wide open as her parents and hospital nursing staff prepared to put her in her car seat to go home.
Of course, Ariana will have frequent checkups at the hospital. There is also no way of knowing if she will have any long-term physical or intellectual complications from being born premature.
But for now, the hard part is over. Baby Ariana is healthy enough to go home with her parents, and everyone who had a hand in keeping her alive and healthy over the past five months couldn’t be more excited.
“We’re all thrilled Ariana is going home,” Rindfleisch said. “She was a special baby. She’ll always be remembered.”