Baby Born at 23 Weeks and Weighing Less Than 1 Pound Heads Home from Hospital

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 24, 2017   |   5:32PM   |   Chicago, Illinois

Eirianna is Chicago’s youngest premature baby yet to survive.

Born after just 23 weeks in the womb and weighing 13 ounces, Eirianna quite possibly could have died soon after birth, ABC News reports. But after a four-month stay at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago, the tiny girl finally was able to go home this week.

Her mother, Enitan Martins, said Eirianna’s life is a miracle and a blessing.

“I’m just grateful that we’re both here,” Martins told WLS-TV. “It’s been a long haul.”

Eirianna was due in January, but she was born on Oct. 4, 2016, after her mother experienced a life-threatening condition called pre-eclampsia, according to the report.

Here’s more from the report:

While pregnant, Martins had pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage in other organs. As a result, she knew that she would deliver early, but 23 weeks was so early that Eirianna was born on the edge of survivability.

“He comes in one day and says, ‘We’re having the baby now. I’m calling your husband, we’re gonna do it,'” Martin told WLS-TV of the moment a doctor told her she needed to deliver.

Born via a cesarean section, the tiny infant was so fragile that her anxious parents couldn’t even reach out and touch her as a newborn in case they accidentally injured her, according to WLS.

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“I thought I was prepared for it, but when I saw her I was shell shocked,” Martins told WLS-TV.

Martins and her husband said Eirianna now looks like a normal newborn, and they can hold her and feed her. According to the hospital, she now weighs more than 6 pounds and can breathe on her own.

The Martins said being able to finally take her home is a huge “gift.”

More micro-preemies like Eirianna are surviving outside the womb and thriving in life thanks to modern medical technology.

A Duke University study published in January found babies born at just 23 weeks gestation are surviving outside the womb at a greater rate than every before. Researchers examined 4,500 babies between 2000 and 2011 and found a “small but significant drop in fatalities for babies born between 23 and 37 weeks gestation,” as well as a decrease in premature babies manifesting with neurophysiological problems, the Daily Mail reported.

Research published in 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine also found that 23% of premature infants are surviving birth as early as 22 weeks. Yet, these babies could have been legally aborted for any reason in many parts of the U.S. The study also found that some hospitals are not giving babies treatment at this early age, despite talk about pushing back the standard viability line from 24 weeks to 23.