Iowa Baby Born Weighing 13 Ounces a ‘Miracle Baby,’ Doctors Say

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
July 29, 2019 Updated: September 2, 2019

Doctors have called an Iowa baby born this month a “miracle baby” after he was born weighing just 13 ounces—making him the hospital’s smallest baby born in the past decade.

When Jaden Wesley Morrow was born premature at 23 weeks at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, doctors told his parents he was “remarkable,” reported KCCI Des Moines.

Despite being months away from her due date of Nov. 6, Jaden’s mother, Ellonn Smartt had a gut feeling her son was ready to enter the world on July 11.

Smartt returned home from work and told her partner, Jordan Morrow, that she knew Jaden was on his way.

“I think he’s going to come today,” she told Morrow.

Just 10 minutes later, Smartt’s water broke and she was rushed to Blank Children’s Hospital, where doctors performed an emergency C-section, and Jaden was born at 10:44 a.m.

The mother said she was spurred on and comforted by the encouraging words of her 3-year-old son, Elijah Smartt.

“Mommy, everything will be fine,” Elijah told her as they made their way to the Iowa hospital.

“We think kids don’t notice these things or understand what’s going on, but he did,” Smartt told KCCI.

According to the World Health Organisation, a premature baby is defined as an infant born before 37 weeks of gestation. Approximately 39 percent of infants born at 24 weeks are surviving according to the latest figures. However, only 6 percent don’t suffer from serious ill-effects later in life, reported the Guardian.

Babies born between 23 to 24 weeks are called micro-preemies, and usually have underdeveloped body systems. They will need respiratory support to breathe as their lower airways are not fully developed. Over half are expected to survive delivery and their time in the NICU, according to Very Well Family.

However, although Jaden was born extremely premature, he defied all expectations as a healthy newborn, and entered the world screaming and swinging his arm, and even started breastfeeding two days after his birth, according to the news outlet.

“He’s a miracle baby,” doctors told Jaden’s parents.

“Weighing in at a whopping 13 ounces, I’m already wowing the Doctors. I’ve heard them use terms like ‘amazing’ and ‘remarkable’ to describe me so far – not bad for someone under 1 pound, huh?” Jaden’s parents wrote in a post on a Caring Bridge page for their son.

Smartt and Morrow have also set up a GoFundMe page for baby Jaden to help cover his medical costs, and regularly post updates about his well being, while he remains in an incubator until his due date.

“Jaden after his Bili lights were removed today!” they post on July 20. Bili lights are a type of light therapy used to treat jaundice in newborns, according to MedlinePlus.

“I’m so proud of him,” Smartt told KCCI. “I go in and talk to him, and I tell him that I’m proud of him every day.”

Smartt told the outlet she is no longer worried that Jaden was born early.

“It taught me there’s always a plan, and we learned to be patient,” she said. “Jaden is here, and that’s all that matters.”

Preemie Who Weighed as Much as An Apple Home After 5 Months in Hospital

Born at just 23 weeks’ gestation, she weighed as much as a large apple.

Baby “Saybie” has claimed the title as the smallest surviving baby, weighing just 8.6 ounces (approx. 244 g). And after spending almost five months in the neonatal intensive care unit, Saybie was released from a San Diego hospital in May, NPR reported.

The mother wished to remain anonymous, and the baby’s real name was not released by the parents either. The University of Iowa’s Tiniest Babies Registry has confirmed that Saybie is the smallest baby on their record.

Due to pregnancy complications, Saybie’s mother was taken to Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, where she had to undergo an emergency cesarean section at just 23 weeks. The doctors realized that the baby was not gaining weight, and they also believed the mother’s life was at risk.

After the delivery, doctors told her husband that they had only an hour to spend with her and that she would not live.

“But, that hour turned into two hours, which turned into a day, which turned into a week,” said Saybie’s mother.

As such a tiny baby, Saybie faced many medical challenges, such as potential brain and lung troubles. She was also vulnerable to infection because she has spent less time connected to her mother’s blood supply. Survival in such instances is rare.

Saybie was a full 7 grams (approx. a quarter of an ounce) lighter than the previous record holder, a baby born in Germany at just 25 weeks in 2015.

On the day of her release, Saybie weighed a much healthier 5 pounds (approx. 2 kg).

Michael Wing contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.