A premature baby girl, at 12 ounces, was born the size of a can of soda. Battling incredible odds, she is finally heading home.

May 25, 2023

After spending almost 200 days in the neonatal intensive care unit at West Boca Medical Center, the smallest baby to be born at the hospital is finally on her way home.

Cheyenne Tomblin came into this world Sept. 11 weighing 12 ounces and about the size of a can of soda, doctors and medical professionals explained at a news conference held at the hospital Tuesday morning.

“She might be small, but she’s bigger than everybody else,” said Hermine Wallace, neonatal intensive care unit staff nurse. “She gets ready to fight, and she’s been fighting since day one.”

Cheyenne beat incredible odds to survive. By virtue of being born at 24 weeks, and her low birth weight, she faced about a 9% chance of survival, based on calculations done in a study released in the British Medical Journal.

One of the biggest complications Cheyenne faced was that her organs hadn’t been able to fully develop in utero, according to Dr. Penna Reddy, an attending neonatologist at the hospital.

“The baby was not growing in utero, that was one of the main concerns. She faced severe growth restriction. All the organs are immature and not ready for outside life,” added Dr. Reddy.

small-baby-300x200Her mother, Czierrah Tomblin, underwent an emergency cesarean section at 24 weeks after developing preeclampsia, a high blood pressure disorder that could lead to fatal complications for the baby and the mother. As well, Cheyenne faced Intrauterine Growth Restriction, a condition in which the baby is unable to grow properly in the womb.

At delivery during the C-section, nurses said they had never seen a baby so small before.

“I see the doctor with this small baby and I’m literally shivering and thinking, ‘What are we going to do with this baby?’ I have never seen a baby this small,” said Floirent Alexis, head nurse. “And then all of a sudden, we hear a little voice screaming and crying at us. She’s moving and her heart rate is good, she’s active. And I thought, ‘This baby just saved the day,’ because honestly we didn’t know what we could do.”

Cheyenne went on to spend about six months in the NICU. She was on a ventilator at one point, getting fed intravenously and having a physical therapist help with her.

It was a tense and trying time for everyone involved as they worked around the clock to monitor Cheyenne and help her survive.

The nurses said they were all praying and remained hopeful, and Tomblin credits them with keeping her strong and helping her get through the past six months. They encouraged her to go back to work, and texted her updates on Cheyenne while she was working. They encouraged her to stay hopeful.

“I’m trying to recover from a C-section, but I’m also worrying about if she is going to be OK,” Tomblin said. “It’s like a family here.”

And now Baby Cheyenne is on the “launching pad,” nurses said, and should be going home within 48 hours. Currently, she weighs nine pounds, five ounces.

For mothers facing a similar situation and the stress of wondering if their baby will make it out of the NICU, Tomblin has some words of encouragement.

“As a first-time mom, that was my hang-up, wondering if my baby was going to come home,” Tomblin said. “But your baby will come home.”

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