One of the smallest babies born in the state of Arizona finally went home from the hospital on Monday, nearly five months after she made her early debut. Kallie Bender, who was born at 25 weeks gestation, weighed just 13 ounces at birth, and was facing a heart defect, Fox 10 Phoenix reported.
“The scariest thing for me, to know if she was born and if she was even smaller than the 13 ounces, [was] what her survival chances were,” Ebonie Bender, Kallie’s mother, said in a news conference.
It all started when Bender went for a 25-week ultrasound which revealed that there was no fluid surrounding Kallie in her mother’s womb. They then found that a condition Bender had was reducing blood flow and nutrients to the baby, and determined she had to be delivered, Fox 10 Phoenix reported.
Babies born before 37 weeks gestation are called preterm or premature, with those born before 28 weeks of pregnancy considered extremely preterm, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Babies born between 23 weeks and 25 weeks of pregnancy may face serious complications or disabilities, but Kallie's doctors said she shows no signs of neurological delay thus far.
Kallie was born on May 24, and began her 150-day NICU stay at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. For the procedure to address Kallie's heart defect, doctors warned Bender that the breathing and feeding tubes might not be small enough to fit Kallie’s tiny body. Even the NICU’s tiniest diapers were too big for Kallie.
“They explained to her right away, there’s good days and bad days,” Bender told Fox 10 Phoenix.
Kallie, who has two older brothers waiting for her at home, was finally able to be held by her parents after 37 days.
“Being educated helped us to stay more calm," Dameon Bender, Kallie’s father, said in a news conference. "Each day was a new journey and we were super excited for it."
Kallie, who now weighs about 7 pounds, was sent home with an oxygen tank and feeding tube, but doctors are confident she will outgrow both, Fox 10 Phoenix reported.