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Premature baby nicknamed ‘Mayor of NICU’ after six months in intensive care

A baby born at just 26 weeks has become known as the Mayor of NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) after having spent over six months being cared for in the hospital.

Born almost four months early, weighing less than 1lb and clinging to life, baby Ellyannah was so small she could fit in the palm of her mother’s hand.

The baby was unable to receive adequate nourishment in utero and her mum, Cecilia Lopez, had to have an emergency caesarean section. Being so premature, doctors didn’t know if Ellyannah would survive.

But despite her tiny size, her mum said she screamed and cried as if expressing her will to live.

Baby Ellyannah had to be revived more than once, but six months later she’s still here and getting stronger every day.

12 ounces to 12 pounds in 6 months

Her father, Boris Lopez, said that when she was born “it was very shocking and difficult but we’re grateful that now she’s 12 lbs and she’s getting better every day”.

Her parents work in shifts to spend as much time with their daughter as they can, and even have a camera in her room to be able to monitor her from home.

“To be able to hold her today, to be able to interact with her, that’s what gratitude looks like for us today” her mum said.

Outcomes for extremely premature babies are constantly improving.

A 2022 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 “Even though her life is so fragile, the Mayor of NICU is a little miracle whose parents are rightly grateful to have her”.

“Like other babies born at this early stage, baby Ellyannah serves as a constant reminder of the preciousness of human life and the humanity of the unborn child”.

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