Alexis Clarke weighed just 11 ounces at birth — smaller than a can of soda. That was six months ago, when she was delivered at UCSD Medical Center at just 25 weeks. The smallest baby ever born at the medical center, Alexis is only now finally able to head home.
After months of medical care, Alexis is now bigger and healthier — and her family has supported her each and every day.
The U.S. Senate saw the introduction of a bill today that will protect babies like Aleixs from abortions. It would ban abortions on unborn children starting at 20 weeks – just five weeks ahead of when Alexis was born.
A local news report has more on this beautiful little girl:
“She was 11 ounces. So, she was 340-grams,” mother Laurie Clarke said, holding up the palm of her hand to describe just how small her little girl was at birth. “[She was] smaller than a can of soda. But when I got to see her, she was just our baby angel.”
Alexis was born three-and-a-half months early. According to her mother, doctors had to deliver Alexis early due to complications stemming from an under-developed placenta.
At Alexis’ small size, Clarke said her baby’s odds of survival were low – less than 25 percent. Given survival, doctors told Alexis’ family that her odds of significant and permanent complications were high.
For the first-time mother, watching her baby spend several months in an incubator meant an almost unbearable wait to just hold her child, and wonder what went wrong with the pregnancy.
“Honestly, it was a lot of, ‘What did I do wrong?’” said Clarke between tears. “Hearing that it wasn’t anything that I did definitely helped.”
According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), babies born at 28 weeks or later survive 90 percent of the time.
Babies born between 24 and 27 weeks – as in Alexis’ case – survive 80 percent of the time.
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Despite the precarious odds, Alexis, her parents and UCSD medical staff fought for her survival. For the first few months, Clarke said the situation was very much touch-and-go. Immediately, the baby was placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UCSD Medical Center, surrounded by nurses and doctors tending to her 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If all goes according to plan, Clarke said her little girl will be released from the hospital and headed home for the first time ever by Thanksgiving.
“We have something definitely huge to be thankful for,” said Clarke.