Baby boy Lincoln Leblanc has gone home after spending 104 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The hospital held an adorable graduation ceremony for the little boy, who was born 14 weeks early.
Born three and a half months early
Lincoln Leblanc was born at 26 weeks gestation, 14 weeks premature. The little boy weighed just 2lb 3oz when he was born and spent over three months in the NICU receiving treatment and battling to survive through the “ups and downs of being a premie”.
Babies who are born prematurely need specialist care to help them survive. This usually involves expert support to help the babies feed and breathe properly so that they can grow and develop.
Adorable graduation ceremony for “little fighter”
Baby Lincoln was dressed in a tiny gown and mortarboard, and presented with a certificate of graduation. His parents, his brother and staff watched as he made this monumental milestone.
Photos have been shared on social media by the staff at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University, where little Lincoln was born. The photos show his parents, his brother and staff cheering him on and smiling happily as the “little fighter” gets ready to go home.
One member of staff, also dressed in a gown and mortarboard, made a speech to mark the special occasion.
She said “Lincoln Leblanc was born at 26 weeks gestation, weighing just 2 pounds and 3 ounces. He is graduating today weighing 9 pounds after spending 104 days in the NICU, he is now 3 months old”.
“NICU babies are true survivors, they show us the power of faith and fight of the human spirit, they are the embodiment of perseverance”.
“When he was born, Lincoln was the second baby in our unit. The first 24 hours were very tenuous. And I remember those first 24 hours vividly because I myself and the attending ward worked around the clock to stabilize him. Lincoln has battled through all the ups and downs of being a premie, we have all cheered him on as he has reached milestone after milestone”.
“We are all so proud of him, and now it is time for the next milestone. Congratulations Lincoln on your graduation from the NICU!”
Improving outcomes for premature babies
A study, ‘Mortality, In-Hospital Morbidity, Care Practices, and 2-Year Outcomes for Extremely Preterm Infants in the US, 2013-2018’, by Dr Edward F Bell of the University of Iowa, found that from 2013 to 2018, with infants born between 22 and 28 weeks gestation, “survival to discharge occurred in 78.3% and was significantly improved compared with a historical rate of 76.0% among infants born in 2008-2012”.
The study, which took place between 2013 and 2018, assessed 10,877 infants born between 22 and 28 weeks gestation in 19 academic medical centres across the US.
This means that almost four out of five extremely prematurely born babies survived and were able to be assessed at 22-26 months corrected age (22-26 months from their due date) for a number of health and functional outcomes.
Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “Congratulations to baby Lincoln on this amazing achievement. He has been through so much in his short life and has fought to make it home”.
“The incredible medical advances displayed in NICUs around the world are allowing children to survive and thrive even when they are born months early”.
“Stories like Lincoln’s show us how developed a baby is at such a young age and pose a challenge to abortion laws that allow for babies to be aborted at the same time that he was born”.