A PREEMIE, who was born at 400 grams, the lightest newborn on record in the country, was discharged from the hospital in good health Thursday, after five months of intensive medical care at Shenzhen Maternal and Child Healthcare Hospital, local Chinese-language media reported over the weekend.
The baby boy, nicknamed Little Seaweed by his mother hoping he would be as strong as seaweed that can withstand storms and waves, was born June 19 when his mother, surnamed Lin, was only 23 weeks and six days into her pregnancy.
Little Seaweed is Lin’s second child. His twin brother, who weighed only 390 grams at birth, did not survive, according to the report. “My twin boys came into the world two days after a routine prenatal check-up in June,” said Lin, adding that the checkup went well, so she was surprised the next day when her water broke.
Lin recalled that her twin sons were as little as a mineral-water bottle at birth. “They were so small that my doctor held one of them in his palm.”
Little Seaweed and his twin brother were not breathing when they were born and they had weak heartbeats, Lin said.
Seeing the twin boys were so tiny, Lin pleaded with the doctors to save her children. The twins were immediately taken to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) of Shenzhen Maternal and Child Healthcare Hospital.
After two months of medical efforts by doctors and nurses in the NICU, Little Seaweed’s twin brother did not survive. Little Seaweed had grew bigger but still couldn’t breathe on his own because his lungs hadn’t developed well enough due to pediatric ductus arteriosus, according to the reports.
After consulting with Ding Yiqun, director of the cardiac surgery department of Shenzhen Children’s Hospital, and researching related medical record materials, Yang Chuanzhong, director of the NICU of Shenzhen Maternal and Child Healthcare Hospital, performed a ligation of patent ductus arteriosus on Little Seaweed. The operation went so well that the preemie could breathe on his own one week after the surgery.
Under the guidance of medical experts at the hospital, Lin adopted the Kangaroo Care practice to increase the bond between her and the boy a month later. “I wanted my son to be able to feel my love for him. I am really grateful that Little Seaweed has been so strong,” said Lin.
According to Yang, it is really difficult for a preemie weighing 400 grams to survive as almost all of his organs are premature or haven’t developed at all. “He faced several challenges, as did I and my team,” Yang said, adding that he and his team had to constantly update their treatment plan according to the boy’s condition.
Little Seaweed had grown to 3 kilograms after five months of intensive care. He was discharged and allowed to go home with his parents Thursday, as his condition had stabilized.
Little Seaweed is the lightest preemie to survive on record in the country, according to Yang. The hospital also helped save a 500-gram preemie in 2015 and a 480-gram preemie in 2017.