A baby girl who was born prematurely at just 24 weeks gestation finally went home after spending nearly five months in a Maryland hospital, according to the Capital Gazette.
Ariana Sophia Cruz-Gutierrez was born prematurely, and weighed just 12 ounces at birth on March 9 at the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Maryland, the Capital Gazette reported.
Ariana’s father, Oscar Gutierrez, said that, when his daughter was born, “we were uncertain of what could happen."
"The baby could die, but with God's help and blessing, and the incredible work of the people here, everything has turned out well," Gutierrez said.
At just 24 weeks into her pregnancy, Ariana’s mother, Claudia Cruz, was told that she had gestational hypertension. Doctors induced labor, and Ariana was born. She wasn’t breathing, so she was resuscitated, despite fears she was too small to survive.
“When they told us the baby could die, our life changed completely," Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez, 34, urged women to “get their blood pressure checked as soon as they find out they are pregnant.”
"They should get into pre-natal care early. Claudia's blood pressure was really high," he said. "We've cried blood for everything the baby has suffered and we've suffered."
Cruz's blood pressure has returned to normal, according to the report.
"It turned out I had really high blood pressure," said Cruz, 31.
In a Facebook post, the Anne Arundel Medical Center wrote that Ariana went home last week. They likened the baby’s birth weight to “three sticks of butter.”
“She now weighs in at 4 pounds, 15 ounces,” the post said. “Special thanks to our amazing NICU team who took care of Ariana during her stay here, and her parents who were dedicated partners in her care.”
Dr. Suzanne Rindfleisch, director of the NICU at AAMC, confirmed to the Capital Gazette that Ariana is the smallest preemie ever to survive at their hospital.
"She was our smallest survivor," Rindfleisch said. "She was 12 ounces and dropped to 8 ounces. It was a long and difficult course for her, but she has a bright future ahead. Being at 24 weeks gestation, all the issues of a premature birth were there with the placement of tubes and monitors. She had transfusions and intubations. Her head sonogram was normal, though. And her parents were by her side all these months."
"The family involvement was crucial," Rindfleisch added. "The attention they gave her and how they fought for her."
The Capital Gazette noted that Ariana will return to AAMC for regular physical therapy and checkups.
"We're all thrilled Ariana is going home," Rindfleisch said. "She was a special baby. She'll always be remembered."