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Survival of the Smallest: Premature Baby Girl Born at 23 Weeks Leaves Hospital, 'Just a Little Miracle'

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A premature baby girl, who weighed only one pound, four ounces at birth, defied the odds and is now flourishing at home with her family.

Valentina Alvarado was born on Sept. 4, 2021, at the Kaiser Permanente San Leandro Medical Center in California and at just 23 weeks gestation, according to KNTV News.

The baby's mother, Gaby Alvarado, was just five and a half months pregnant when her daughter was born. 

A group of medical professionals gave Valentina the extensive care she needed for survival and she was able to leave the hospital in January. She is now six months old, weighs 11 pounds, and is 22 inches long. 

"She is honestly just a little miracle," Gaby said during a recent news conference with her husband Jesús. "If she can fight this hard for her life and overcome so much when she is so small, there is nothing the rest of us can't do." 

According to the Mayo Clinic, a premature (preterm) baby is any baby who is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. 

For babies like little Valentina, while they're born very early, they're still fully human and are capable of surviving with help, having already formed all their organs and body parts in the womb. They still require special care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or special care nursery that provides round-the-clock care. For example, their lungs are typically still not ready yet to provide enough oxygen.

But research shows that many babies born extremely premature can survive and later thrive.

Earlier this year, the Journal of the American Medical Association released findings from a comprehensive study of 10,877 preterm babies born between 2013 and 2018. It showed that with effective treatment, 55 percent of the infants included in the study, who were born at 23 weeks, survived.

Kaiser Neonatologist Dr. Ashvin Sangoram pointed out that achieving a positive outcome is the ultimate goal when caring for these critical infants. 

"A whole team wants to see the success of all our babies and particularly one that is vulnerable," Sangoram said.

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About The Author

Andrea Morris

Andrea Morris is a Features Producer for The 700 Club. She came to CBN in 2019 where she worked as a web producer in the news department for three years. Her passion was always to tell human interest stories that would touch the hearts of readers while connecting them with God. She transitioned into her new role with The 700 Club in August 2022.