World’s smallest surviving baby goes home after 5 months in hospital

Posted at 6:44 PM, May 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 18:44:15-04

SAN DIEGO — The smallest surviving baby in the world was released this month from a San Diego hospital after being born at just 8.6 ounces, officials announced Wednesday.

The baby, named Saybie, was born in December at 23 weeks, three days, making her a micro preemie, according to Sharp Mary Birch Hospital officials. When she was released from the hospital this month, she weighed 5.6 pounds.

Her mother, who has chosen to stay anonymous, said she went to the hospital after experiencing severe complications during pregnancy.

“They told my husband that he had about an hour with her, and that she was going to pass away,” Saybie's mother said in a video released by the hospital. “That hour turned into two hours, which turned into a day, which turned into a week.”

Although Saybie did not have any of the medical challenges typically associated with babies born before 28 weeks’ gestation — including lung and heart issues, and brain bleeds — hospital staff didn’t immediately know whether the infant would survive.

“After experiencing severe pregnancy complications, Saybie’s mother gave birth via emergency cesarean section at 23 weeks, 3 days gestation in the womb,” Sharp explained. “A typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. Doctors said the preterm birth was necessary after they found that the baby was not gaining weight and her mother’s life was at immediate risk.”

After her birth, the newborn was stabilized by the hospital’s life support team before she was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit.

Her status as the world’s smallest surviving newborn comes via the Tiniest Babies Registry, which is maintained by University of Iowa. She weighed 7 grams less than the previous smallest baby, who was born in Germany in 2015, according to Sharp.

Saybie was cared for in the Sharp Mary Birch NICU for about 5 months.

“We should celebrate this date every time,” the mother said. “It’s going to be a special one for us.”