Baby Rayden Mondragon was due to be born in January 2017, but a life-threatening placenta problem pushed up his birth by a full 15 weeks.
Rayden arrived on Sept. 29 at a hospital in Spokane, Washington, weighing just 14 ounces and measuring 10.5 inches. The micro-preemie was so small that his father’s wedding band fit around his leg.
The Sun reports Rayden is still in the hospital, but his condition is improving. A few decades ago, very premature babies did not have much chance of survival; but modern medical technology is helping more babies to survive earlier and at lower birth weights.
“He’s shocked all of us – everyday he surprises us,” Rayden’s mother, Marissa Mondragon, said. “We expected to have more problems with him, but he’s doing great.”
The 23-year-old mom said her pregnancy seemed to be going well; but during her 20-week pregnancy check-up, her doctor detected a problem with her placenta. The doctor told her that Rayden was unusually small for his age, and he was not getting enough oxygen, according to the report.
Here’s more from the report:
Marissa was given two shots of steroids to stimulate her baby’s lungs and she was sent home for two weeks to let the drugs take effect.
But a check-up scan showed Rayden still wasn’t receiving enough oxygen or nutrients through the placenta.
Doctors told Marissa and warehouse supervisor Robert [her husband] that they needed to perform an emergency C-section, because there was a risk that their baby could die in the womb.
Marissa said: “At first I didn’t want to take Rayden out.
“I would feel him kick at night and he was felt perfectly fine.
She continued: “But I didn’t want to risk his chances.”
Rayden was delivered at Sacred Heart Medical Centre and Children Hospital in Spokane, the closest specialist hospital, two hours away from their home.
Doctors rushed the Mondragons’ tiny son to the neonatal intensive care unit where they fought to save Rayden’s life. For several weeks, the Mondragons said they could only watch Rayden from inside his incubator and pray. It was more than two weeks before Marissa even was allowed to hold him, she told the newspaper.
“It had been really hard not to touch him and comfort him, when he wasn’t doing so well,” she said. “But on that day, the nurse sat him on my chest. He was so tiny. It was amazing to finally hold him and I just watched him for an hour and a half.”
In the past month, Rayden has grown to weigh more than 1 pound, 2 ounces, but he still has a long journey of recovery. The Mondragons’ family set up a YouCaring fundraiser to help them with their expenses.
On Nov. 2, the family posted a hopeful message from Marissa on the fundraiser page. She said Rayden continues to surprise doctors with how well he is doing. The little boy does not require an IV for his nutrition anymore; he is drinking breast milk, she said. Doctors have not detected any brain bleeds either, a common problem in very premature babies, she said.
“Rayden is off of his breathing tube and it’s now been four days so he is doing much better than this first time he was off,” Marissa continued. “Overall Rayden is doing awesome specially for being so tiny that’s one thing that surprises the doctors. Rayden continues to fight and be strong he is truly our little miracle and the best blessing I could ever ask for. God is amazing and because of our faith I feel we can get through anything.”