Premature Baby Born at 22 Weeks and Given 5% Chance to Live Defies the Odds and is Going Home

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Sep 12, 2017   |   3:06PM   |   Washington, DC

Lawrence looks like a typical newborn preparing to go home from the hospital.

The Sacramento, California infant weighs 6 pounds and 3 ounces, has a feisty spirit and likes to cuddle with his mother.

Lawrence, or “Leni” as his family likes to call him, was due on Sept. 7, but he was born 18 weeks ago after just 22 weeks in the womb, the Blaze reports.

His mother, Chastity, told KCRA TV that doctors gave her son a 5-percent chance of survival when he was born, but Leni did not stop fighting for his life.

On May 9, Chastity went into premature labor and gave birth to her son at home.

“I didn’t even know I was in labor at first,” she told the local news. “He wasn’t a regular baby. He was blue and purple. I didn’t think he was going to live, and I’m looking at my son like, ‘Oh my God, please live. Don’t die on me.’”

According to the Blaze, paramedics quickly rushed the mom and newborn to the hospital, providing care along the way. Leni weighed a little more than 1 pound at birth.

“You see this huge firefighter with this small infant trying to breathe for him,” Chastity said. “I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness, you survived.’”

Leni spent about 18 weeks in the Sutter Health Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit in Sacramento, and doctors said they expect he will be able to go home this week.

Chastity said her little boy is feisty, and he is a mommy’s boy.

“He’s definitely my miracle baby. I don’t know what I would have done if he didn’t survive,” she said. “He’s my first child. I’d rather sit here and fight for him than to bury my own child.”

More very early preemies are surviving outside the womb thanks to modern medical technology.

Last fall, a Chicago hospital saved a very premature infant who was born weighing 13 ounces. Eirianna spent four months at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago before growing well enough to go home in February of this year.

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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 ever 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 percent of premature infants are surviving birth as early as 22 weeks. However, 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.