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Baby born at 22 weeks, weighing just over 1 pound, released from hospital

Nyla Brooke Haywood spent about six months in the hospital.
Mother NaKeya Haywood holds baby Nyla Brooke Haywood, born at just 22 weeks weighing 1 pound and 1 ounce.
Posted at 3:15 PM, May 16, 2024

A baby girl who weighed just over 1 pound when she was born prematurely in November has beaten the odds and gone home with her parents after spending her first six months at a suburban Chicago hospital.

Nyla Brooke Haywood was treated to a send-off party Monday at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, Illinois, attended by family, friends and hospital staffers, before the 6-month-old was taken home by her first-time parents, NaKeya and Cory Haywood of Joliet.

Nyla was delivered on Nov. 17 at just 22 weeks after NaKeya was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, a dangerous high-blood pressure condition. Nyla weighed 1 pound and 1 ounce and was 11 inches long, making her what's known as a “micropreemie.”

But she left the hospital Monday weighing a healthy 10 pounds and at 21 inches long after months of treatment and nurturing in its neonatal intensive care unit.

A baby grasping an adult finger.

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“I don’t have the words, in all honestly. I’m just grateful that she’s here, she’s healthy, and she’s doing amazing,” NaKeya Haywood told WLS-TV on Monday.

She said she was scared about her child’s early delivery. But Nyla “came out fighting,” said Dr. Mario Sanchez, a neonatologist at Silver Cross Hospital, speaking with the station.

“She cried at birth. It was a little whimper, but it was a cry. Her heart rate always remained over 100, which for us is where we wanted it to be. She came out fighting right off the bat,” he said.

After her birth, Nyla's lungs were tiny and underdeveloped, but a team of up to 15 people focused on the tiny newborn during her first minutes and days. She has some residual scarring on her lungs and was sent home with oxygen. Nyla will require regular checkups to keep watch for any future complications, which sometimes arise with micropreemies.

Growing numbers of extremely premature infants are getting lifesaving treatment and surviving. A pivotal study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2022 looked at nearly 11,000 such births in a neonatal research network that is part of the National Institutes of Health.

It found that 30% of babies born at 22 weeks, 56% born at 23 weeks and 71% born at 24 weeks lived at least until they were healthy enough to be sent home if doctors tried to save them.