Micro preemie who weighed less than 2 pounds at birth makes it home for the holidays

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — One Houston-area family is celebrating a miraculous homecoming this holiday season after enduring nearly four months in the neonatal intensive care unit.

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Juana Gallegos wasn’t due to give birth to her daughter until September, but Jimena “JC” Macias was a little impatient and made her debut April 29, some 18 weeks before she was expected, KHOU reported.

“On day one, day two, day 30…I didn’t think it would be possible to spend the holidays together,” Gallegos told the TV station, confirming that JC weighed only 1 pound and 9 ounces when she arrived at 22 weeks.

“God had other plans,” she added.

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According to Verywell Family, a micro preemie is a baby born weighing less than 750 grams, or slightly less than 1.7 pounds, or before 26 weeks gestation.

Although JC required a ventilator to breathe and an IV in her umbilical cord to maintain nutrition in her earliest days, doctors told KHOU that the child is now thriving and meeting the milestones of a 2-month-old, her adjusted age. And although JC still requires intensive physical therapy, her 112-day stay in The Woodlands Medical Center’s Level 3 NICU gave her the fighting chance she needed.

“While I wish this story would happen with every baby born this early, it’s not possible. Not to think her story represents every baby, but it makes it so much more miraculous that it happened,” Dr. Rebecca Ballard, a neonatologist with Memorial Hermann/Pediatrix Medical Group of Texas, told the TV station.

Indeed, the average survival rate for micro preemies born at 22 weeks is only about 10%, compared with 50% to 66% for those born at 23 weeks, 66% to 80% at 24 weeks, 75% to 85% at 25 weeks and more than 90% at 26 weeks, according to Verywell Family.