Baby "Saybie" was born prematurely when her mother was only 23 weeks into the pregnancy. While the family wishes to remain anonymous, they have allowed her story to be told.

As reported by the BBC, Saybie has been deemed the world’s smallest surviving micro-preemie, as she weighed only 8.6 oz (245 gr) at birth in December. Her weight was approximately the same as the average apple. After his wife gave birth, doctors told the baby’s father that it would only be around an hour before his baby daughter passed away. However, that hour became two hours, then a day, then a week as the baby fought for life.

Baby Saybie is now thriving

The mother gave birth at the Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns in December. After more than five months have gone by, she has finally gone home to her parents as a healthy infant, now weighing 5 lb (2 kg).

As noted by the Telegraph, while the family wishes to remain anonymous, they gave permission for their story to be told, with the hospital giving the name “Saybie” to the tiny tot.

According to the Tiniest Baby Registry which is maintained by the University of Iowa, Saybie is the world’s tiniest baby to ever survive. The previous record was held by a Japanese baby boy who weighed 9.45 oz (268 gr) when born 16 weeks prematurely in August last year.

According to a professor of pediatrics at the University of Iowa, Saybie’s birth weight was the lowest medically confirmed weight ever submitted to their registry.

Dr. Edward Bell said they admittedly can’t rule out smaller infants who had not been registered. The previous smallest baby was a little girl, born in 2015 in Germany and who weighed 7 gr more than Saybie.

Scariest day of the mother’s life

In a video released by the hospital, Saybie’s mother said the birth was the scariest time of her life.

She had not been feeling well and went to the hospital, where they told her she had preeclampsia. The condition is serious, causing skyrocketing blood pressure which could be fatal to the infant. In those conditions, the baby needs to be delivered right away.

The mother said she kept telling the medical staff her baby couldn’t survive, as she was only 23 weeks pregnant. However, Saybie did indeed survive and gradually gained weight while in the neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital. Hear the interview with the mother in the video below.

‘Tiny but Mighty’

A pink sign was placed on Saybie’s crib, reading “Tiny but Mighty.” Staff placed other signs on her crib, keeping track of the baby’s weight and cheering her on. Her birth weight could have been compared to that of a hamster, but Saybie continued to gain weight over the months. Nurse Emma Wiest said in the video that you could barely see the baby in her bed as she was so small.

Another nurse featured in the video, Kim Norby, called the tiny girl a “miracle, that’s for sure.”

When Saybie finally left the neo-natal unit, the nurses placed a tiny graduation cap on her head. However, the little girl still faces enormous challenges as what is termed a “micro-preemie” or infant born under 28 weeks of the gestation period. Among other complications, she could face hearing and vision problems and have developmental issues.

According to Michelle King of the nonprofit March of Dimes, many micro-preemies do not survive the first year. Their organization works towards improving the health of mothers and babies. However, so far, Saybie has well and truly beaten the odds.

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