'Miracle' Preemie Born at 26 Weeks the Size of a Soda Can Now Thriving: 'We're Grateful to God'
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The mom and dad of a California baby girl born weighing the amount of a soda can say they are grateful to God that she is thriving just seven months after her birth.
Ellyannah Lopez came into the world after just 26 weeks in the womb, weighed only 12 oz, and was the smallest baby to ever be born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Now little Ellyannah has grown to 12 pounds and continues to exceed the doctor's expectations.
"She was born so small that no one, none of the doctors in that operating room thought that she would cry. And when she did, I could hear everybody saying, 'Is that her?'" Cecia Juarez, her mother, told ABC News.
Juarez and her partner, Boris Lopez, consider their daughter to be a "miracle baby."
The couple tried for eight years to have a baby and just when they were going to seek fertility care, Juarez became pregnant.
"No medication required, so we knew that our baby would be nothing short of a miracle, right?" she said.
But at just 20 weeks pregnant, doctors learned Ellyannah was not receiving enough nutrients through the umbilical cord and her mother's blood pressure was not normal.
Physicians feared that if the parents chose to continue with the pregnancy, it could be deadly for both the mom and baby.
That is when Ellyannah's parents decided to have her delivered early via C-section.
"We were going to give her all the chances," Juarez said.
Approximately 7,000 babies are born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center each year, and many are premature. But little Ellyannah was the smallest they had ever seen.
"Less than probably 1% of all births are delivered before 26 weeks. Most challenging for babies this early and this small to deal with are immature lungs, and therefore relying a lot on breathing support," said Dr. Seth Langston with Cedar-Sinai Guerin Children's.
Ellyannah was also the first baby at Cedar-Sinai to use a high-frequency ventilator known as a jet.
Despite around-the-clock care, in her first month, the tiny little girl almost died several times.
Her condition was so fragile that her parents could not hold her for the first 54 days of life.
But her parents say she is a fighter and is now thriving.
"We're grateful to God for giving us this precious miracle baby," Lopez, told Fox 11, adding that "she's getting better every day."
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