A tiny baby girl born the size of an unborn baby at 18 weeks of pregnancy died Saturday though her parents and doctors fought to give her a chance at life.
The Mirror reports Brooklen Nicole spent more than 24 weeks in the womb, but a problem with her placenta kept her from growing. When she was born on May 23, she was 9 inches long, 2 inches shorter than the average Barbie doll, and weighed 9 ounces.
Though she is gone, her life is making a big impact online through the photos and videos her parents shared. Photos on the page Fight for Baby Brooklen Nicole show her tiny hands and feet, barely the size of her father’s thumb. Videos show her stretching her little legs as doctors and nurses treat her and reacting when her mom and dad touch her.
Her parents, Trever McDaniel and Britnee Russell, of Minnesota, said doctors discovered a problem with Brooklen when she was 23 weeks along. Doctors said Russell’s placenta and umbilical cord were not working properly and giving Brooklen the nutrients she needed; and she had stopped growing around 18 weeks, according to the report.
Russell said the doctors gave them two options.
“So, the decision came down to sitting at home seeing the doctor [and] hoping we would hear a heartbeat every week – but knowing the risk of a stillbirth is very high – or make our journey to the cities with monitoring and medicine every day for that could give her what she needs,” she said.
“So we made the decision to give her everything in our power. We would rather know we did everything possible,” she continued.
According to the family, Russell traveled to a hospital in Minneapolis where doctors could monitor Brooklen’s progress regularly. A few days later, they said doctors made an emergency decision that Brooklen needed to be born; mom and baby were at 24 weeks and 3 days of pregnancy. She was born on May 23.
Generally, 23 to 24 weeks is considered the point of viability for babies. However, risks remain high for babies born so prematurely.
Initial reports online indicated Brooklen was stable. On May 25, the family said she drank some breast milk and gained a little weight.
“… mommy is successfully feeding mommy milk to Brooklen! She took two syringes full of milk and was even sticking her tongue out! She is so AMAZING!” they posted online.
A day later, however, doctors discovered that the tiny baby girl had a brain bleed, a life-threatening condition that often occurs with very premature babies. The next day, Saturday, May 27, the family announced that Brooklen had died.
“Baby Brooklen took a turn this morning, and there were some things her little body just could not heal from. She has passed on to Heaven this afternoon,” they wrote online.
A fundraiser originally set up to help with their medical expenses now will be used to pay for Brooklen’s funeral and burial, according to the family.
Though heartbroken, Brooklen’s mom and dad said their daughter’s life was a “miracle.” They said they have felt God’s presence throughout the tragedy, and are thankful that Brooklen made it as far as she did.