World's smallest surviving baby born in California weighing just 8.6 ounces finally goes home from hospital

An infant who owns the official title of world's smallest baby has finally gone home from the hospital, nearly five months after she was born weighing just 8.6 ounces.

Baby Saybie, as her caregivers identify her to protect her family's identity, was born via emergency C-section at San Diego's Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns in December 2018, when her mother was 23-weeks pregnant. 

The preterm birth was deemed necessary after doctors found that Saybie's mother had preeclampsia, a pregnancy condition involving high blood pressure that can put both the mother and child at immediate risk, according to a press release from the hospital.

Photos of the baby: 

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World's smallest surviving baby born in California weighing just 8.6 ounces
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World's smallest surviving baby born in California weighing just 8.6 ounces
Photo: Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns
Photo: Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns
Photo: Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns
Photo: Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns
Photo: Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns
Photo: Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns
Photo: Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns
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Saybie weighed about the same as an apple and was "small and fragile, and could fit in the palm of the hands of her care team" at the time of her birth. The newborn's family was also given a grim prognosis.

"They told my husband he had about an hour with her and that she was going to die," Saybie's mother said in a video recently released by the hospital. "But that hour turned into two hours. Which turned into a day. Which turned into a week."

Special care doctors at Sharp Mary Birch, including neonatologist Dr. Paul Wozniak, worked tirelessly to stabilize the premie before transferring her to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

With the help of a team of experts, Saybie grew stronger and was released from the hospital in May 2019 as a healthy, 5-pound infant — an emotional event for both her family and caregivers.

Following her miraculous survival, Saybie was given the title of world's smallest baby, according to the official Tiniest Babies Registry maintained by the University of Iowa. 

Despite Saybie's size, her nurses say they hope as she grows up, she never forgets that she's truly a fighter.

"I just want her to know how strong she is," nurse Emma Wiest said. "I mean if she can start off where she was and do as well as she can be, there's nothing she can't do."

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