The miracle of life, from the world's smallest surviving baby

When I was a little girl around the age of 7 in the late 1960s, the most exciting thing in the world was to persuade my parents to take me and my sisters to Sharp Hospital, up the road from where I lived in San Diego, to go see the newborn babies through the hospital window. In my little-kid mind, two things were very important - to see the giant statue of the stork carrying a baby at the hospital entrance, and to see the window with all the newborn babies and find the babies in the incubators, marveling at how tiny they were in their oversized diapers and how they needed those specialized warm glass bubbles.

I'm still here in San Diego and almost every day I walk to this same hospital to get exercise. The hokey stork is still there, moved to the parking lot roof probably due to public demand that they not get rid of it even as the hospital modernized. The old hospital is still there but it's built around with more modern edifices. The baby window, for obvious reasons, probably to prevent baby-snatching, is no longer there. Yet suddenly, the miraculousness of the tiny incubator babies in the window comes back to me with this wonderful NBC news item:

The world’s smallest surviving baby has been born in San Diego, according to hospital officials.

The baby girl weighed 8.6 ounces when she was delivered in December. She went home this month as a healthy, happy 5-pound infant.

Officials with Sharp Mary Birch Hospital announced the successful birth Wednesday. 

The baby girl was born at 23 weeks and 3 days, induced because she was not gaining weight in the womb after the mother developed preeclampsia. Her parents were advised their baby may not survive the first 24 hours.

That first day turned into two which then turned into a week. The baby girl defied expectations.

"At birth, she was roughly the same weight as a large apple or a child's juice box," CEO Trisha Khaleghi said. 

  A juice box-sized baby born three months early and making it to the size of a small baby and going home! At the very hospital I was born at, where I thrilled at looking at the newborn babies in the window as a kid. This is amazing. Here is a Sharp video, beaming about the new baby.

It's still a wonderful hospital after all these years. Named after a young pilot killed in World War II, it was constructed in the late 1950s or early 1960s by his grieving parents who put up the money up for it near the old General Dynamics plant where rockets to the moon were at the time being built, and new families were moving in to optimistic new subdivisions. I was from one of those families.

Now the hospital saving the tiniest of babies, giving them life, making them well enough to go home. The care and treatment the baby got was amazing. Look at the photo of those beaming nurses, all of whom were caring for the baby for months and months, quietly, no cameras, well beyond anyone's notice up until now. This baby was most certainly 'their baby,' as the saying goes. As I did my daily walks, I marvel at how all of  this was going on behind the hospital walls, without my having any idea.

It's a genuinely heartening story. And it brings up the obvious: That a baby born at 8.7 ounces, just barely over a half a pound, is a living person, same as a baby born under more ordinary circumstances. And that technology and medical care are increasingly advancing toward being able to save the tiniest of babies - babies born at about the weight of a juice box now. And that every baby is a very precious and wanted baby.

How distant and frightening to remember that today there is a debate going on elsewhere about abortion, about fetal viability, and the right to kill a baby a second after it's been born and that there are arguments about the life and 'health' of the mother as justification for killing someone the size of this baby. Every day, behind other closed walls, babies this very size are being killed, chopped up, and sold for parts and profit by hideous organizations such as Planned Parenthood. How can one baby of this size get all this care from these wonderful doctors and nurses to result in this miracle - and another go out with the medical waste? 

This baby's story makes all talk of abortion utterly obscene. How could anyone think such a thing is good following the story of how this miracle baby was bundled up and taken home? How could anyone in the medical field with those heroic nurses who made history through their dedicated, life-saving vocation to preserve life, even of the most helpless, ever be asked to be involved in killing other babies of the same size or even larger? It makes one shudder.

This birth shows that every life is a viable life with the right care, and this baby's miraculous survival shows that it's now possible, and now happening. There's a reason the public is moving against the idea of abortion as technology and care advance, and this precious and miraculous baby is the reason.


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