Melinda Star Guido, the smallest preemie to have been born in California, has left the hospital. She holds the title of being the third smallest preemie in the entire world. After a long time spent in the NICU, she was finally able to go home with her parents.
When Melinda was born, she weighed less than a can of soda. She was born 24 weeks premature, because there was a problem with the placenta. Due to that problem, she wasn’t able to get the nutrition, blood, and oxygen she needed while she was in the womb. In addition to this complication, her mother had high blood pressure, (which can cause problems for both a mother and her baby).
Melinda was born 24 weeks premature, and weighed less than a pound, at 9.5 ounces. She fit into the palm of her doctor’s hand. In general, any infant that is born before 37 weeks is considered a preemie.
After more than sixteen weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit, Melinda now weighs 4.5 pounds. She has been released from the hospital, and has been able to go home with her family.
This adorable preemie has already been through a lot in her four and a half month life. At the time of her birth, her skin was so thin that it would not be able to protect her from infection. Doctors did not expect that she would live for more than a few days. She has been treated for an eye disorder, (which is common to preemies). She also has undergone a surgery to close one of her arteries.
Clearly, she is a fighter. This is good, because there she still has many battles to face. Although her parents might consider her to be almost five months old, Melinda’s doctors consider to be more like a one month old infant. She is doing what she is supposed to be doing though. This includes sleeping, feeding, looking around, and gaining weight.
In September of 2011, a study was released that focused on kindergarteners who were born preemies. The study showed that kindergarteners who were preemies were more likely to have learning disabilities than their peers, who were born full term, were likely to have.
Another study shows that preemies have a higher risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) than do babies who were born full term. Melinda’s doctor are saying that the first six years of her life are going to be crucial for her development.
Image by [F]oxymoron on Flickr