Baby Amillia Sonja Taylor finally left the hospital in Florida yesterday. Doctors gave clearance after deciding she was healthy enough to survive with just her parents' care. VOA's Melinda Smith has more on the infant, believed to be one of the world's smallest surviving premature babies.
It may be hard to believe, but when Amillia Sonja Taylor was born, her feet were only this big. Her body was no bigger than a ballpoint pen.
After just 21 weeks and six days in the womb, she was born in October weighing 283 grams [10 ounces] and measuring 24 centimeters [9 1/2 inches].
The day before her parents, Eddie and Sonja Taylor, took her home she was quite different.
After four months in the neonatal unit of a Miami, Florida hospital, Baby Amillia weighed two kilograms [4 1/2 pounds] and was 39 centimeters [15 1/2 inches] long.
Her doctor, William Smalling, says the baby was born with a slight brain hemorrhage, and some digestive and respiratory problems. But most importantly, she possessed a strong will to survive: "She made efforts at breathing, an attempt to cry at birth, so when she was assessed at the delivery, she showed signs she may have been mature enough to survive, and she proved us right."
The average baby stays inside the mother's womb for 38 to 40 weeks before birth. Neonatal experts say few infants survive if they are born before the 24th week of gestation. Each additional week in the womb helps increase the odds of survival.
Lung development is the first critical stage of maturation. While Amillia has some breathing problems, her doctors do not believe she will have any long-term effects.
Her mother, Sonja Taylor, says Amillia looks healthy already. "The big difference is her size now. Now I can feel her when I hold her. Before she was just there, like...oh, she's not...I don't feel anything. But now I feel her. She's moving."
Amillia's parents have kept a diary of her progress so that one day she will know what a grand entrance she made into the world.