Extremely Premature Washougal Baby To Be Released From Hospital After Months of Care

Portland, Ore. (Oregon Right to Life) — The parents of an extremely premature baby boy born in Portland late last year are excited and relieved as they plan to take their “miracle baby” home after many emotional months in the hospital.

Washougal parents Madelyn and Gabe Heredia welcomed their tiny preemie into the world in November, KPTV reported. Baby Teddy was delivered at Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel in Portland at only 27 weeks gestation and weighing just 14 ounces.

Madelyn Heredia told KPTV she had learned that Teddy wasn’t developing properly during a September check-up. When Teddy was born, the boy’s mother said he was “smaller than my hand… Looking at him made it even scarier.” 

“He was just so fragile, so tiny, and so dependent on all of this equipment that I didn’t understand yet,” Heredia told the outlet. Doctors estimated the baby had a less than 10% chance of survival. “More of a death sentence for him than anything,” his mother said.

It’s very rare – and very dangerous – for babies to be born so small. 

Writing for VeryWellFamily, Virginia registered nurse Cheryl Bird noted that babies born earlier than 26 weeks gestation or weighing less than 750 grams (about 26.5 ounces) are considered “micro preemies.”

“Micro preemies are very fragile, and every day that they can spend inside the womb increases their chance of survival,” Bird wrote.

A cohort study published by JAMA Pediatrics in 2019 found that premature babies “with a birth weight less than 400 g [about 14 ounces] are at risk of significant, but not universal, morbidity and mortality.”

Teddy’s mother described the past months in the hospital as “traumatic” as her fragile baby boy slowly got bigger and stronger while fighting off pneumonia and numerous infections. But despite the stress and anxiety, she told KPTV she received significant support from her husband and the hospital staff along the way. 

“It makes me emotional. It’s hard to reflect on,” Heredia told the outlet. “But, seeing [Teddy] now, it was so worth it.”

On New Year’s Day, Teddy received a steroid shot of betamethasone. “They think that saved his life, essentially,” Heredia told KPTV. 

Since that day, Teddy’s health began to markedly improve and he became much less dependent on his respiratory equipment. Now, the Heredia family looks forward to taking him home to their other two children, Elliot and Poppy. Per KPTV, Teddy will need some respiratory assistance and protection from germs – but he’s expected to thrive.

Teddy’s miraculous birth and recovery underscore the incredible capacity of modern medicine and technology to save and sustain vulnerable babies.

Stories like Teddy’s also demonstrate the preciousness of every human life, including the lives of unborn babies with challenging medical diagnoses. Keep up to date on all the ways Oregon Right to Life works to protect every human life from fertilization until natural death by signing up to receive email updates.

Written by Ashley Sadler, communications director for Oregon Right to Life.


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