Miracle baby will go home with Homestead parents
By ERIKA BERAS
When she was born, she was shorter than a ballpoint pen. No one gave her much of a chance.
But Amillia Taylor, all 284 grams of her, was a fighter. And Tuesday she is going home for the first time.
Doctors and nurses at Baptist Children's Hospital in Kendall held a news conference today to celebrate the survival of little Amillia, who they believe to be a record-setter: the most premature baby ever to survive.
''For a baby of this gestational age to survive is a miracle,'' said neonatologist Dr. William Smalling.
Sonja Taylor gave birth by C-section on Oct. 24, 21 weeks and six days into her pregnancy, which was her first.
A typical birth comes in weeks 37 to 40.
In claiming she is the most premature baby to survive, Baptist doctors cite the University of Iowa's national registry.
Her life seemed tough from the get-go.
Sonja Taylor, a 37-year-old middle school teacher, had to go through in vitro fertilization to conceive. Then, throughout her short pregnancy, she exhibited various risk factors. Her doctors attempted different techniques to forestall premature birth, but the baby had other ideas.
When the child was born so tiny and barely breathing, the staff at Baptist Children's Hospital was realistically skeptical. After all, survival statistics for a baby born that soon are not even available. And for a child birthed at 23 weeks, the survival rate is 30 percent. The American Association of Pediatrics doesn't consider a child born at that stage and weight to be viable. The doctors and nurses didn't see much promise.
Her parents did; they named her Amillia -- which means resilient, fighter, hardworking.
The little girl spent four months in the neonatal intensive care unit. Her tiny lungs were strained. Her skin was lacerated. She needed supplemental oxygen. There were heart problems and blood pressure issues.
''We tried not to be too hopeful,'' said Dr. Smalling.
Just about every doctor and nurse at the hospital took turns monitoring the baby 24 hours a day.
For six weeks her mom, whose scheduled due date was not until March, was not allowed to hold her.
''I just looked at her through the plastic,'' she said.
''Day by day it was a roller coaster ride,'' said Dr. Paul Fassbach, a neonatologist, ``Yes, it was excellent care, but it was also luck.''
The Taylors also have a soon-to-be-adopted 16-year-old daughter Jacquiria Cade, and live in Homestead. Father, Eddie, 46, is an electrical engineer. Mother Sonja was a teacher at Richmond-Perrine Optimist Academy, an alternative school, but she quit when her child was born.
Tomorrow, the Taylors will take the child -- the child doctors and nurses call a miracle baby -- home for the first time.
Amillia will still have to take asthma medication as well as Vitamin E for her skin. Her parents will still have to monitor her every move, practice specific precautions when they bathe her and provide supplemental oxygen. Even today, she only weighs four pounds.
''She's still ahead of the curve,'' said Dr. Smalling, ``After all she shouldn't even have been born yet.''
I think I'd call this more an incredible act of God, then "luck" as quoted above. This little girl was quite a bit smaller then Grace and Olivia both. Pretty amazing, huh?