For Jenny Rodriguez and her family, this Thanksgiving will be like no other. Her daughter, Zavannah Rodriguez, is finally ready to go home from the hospital in the next few days and meet her two older brothers.
“She’s definitely a miracle baby,” Rodriguez said. “I’m very grateful.”
Zavannah’s remarkable journey began in late July when she was born only 23 weeks into her mother’s pregnancy.
“It was scary,” Rodriguez said. “It was worrying. But also having hope.”
It’s only fitting that “Hope” is Zavannah’s middle name. The premature baby weighed only one pound and two ounces at birth.
“She was smaller than a ruler,” Rodriguez said. “Eleven inches. Really, you could hold her with one hand.”
The team at AtlantiCare’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Galloway Township, New Jersey, has cared for Zavannah for nearly four months. The baby girl is the second most premature surviving baby in AtlantiCare’s history and the NICU’s youngest of this millennium.
“It is rare though we are actually getting better across the country and taking care of babies as young as this,” CHOP neonatologist Dr. Ben Asiegbu told NBC10. “Most times they end up with lots of complications. But look at [Zavannah] today. She looks absolutely fine.”
Zavannah now weighs more than six pounds.
“She fought,” Rodriguez said. “She fought to be here with us.”
Rodriguez had prior experience with the NICU that helped put her more at ease. Her second child was born at NICU at only 27 weeks.
“Especially with knowing the care NICU gives,” Rodriguez said. “The nurses and doctors give their all for these babies.”
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