Jaiden has been a fighter since the day she was born: all 1 pound, 7 ounces of her. In fact, she was born so tiny that her whole body fit into her mother’s hand.
In September 2005, Jaiden’s mom Vickie, who was previously having a normal pregnancy, had an ultrasound that revealed she had low amniotic fluid. Vickie was immediately admitted to the MemorialCare Center for Women at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, where doctors advised her to stay until her baby was born.
Vickie was diagnosed with oligohydramnios, which can lead to compression of the umbilical cord, the lifeline between mother and baby, and can be associated with delivery complications. Vickie was placed on complete bed rest, attached to sensitive fetal monitors and cared for around-the-clock by maternity nurses and perinatologists—specialists in high-risk maternity care. Since breathing problems are always a concern when prematurity is possible, she received steroid injections to accelerate baby’s lung development.
Just four days after being admitted, Vickie went into labor. Jaiden was born by Cesarean section almost three months prematurely. After a kiss from Vickie, Jaiden was whisked off to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach—a specialized nursery for babies born prematurely or with urgent medical needs. Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach is one of only 22 level III NICUs in California. Level III is the highest designation possible for a NICU, signifying that the hospital has the facilities, physicians, nurses and staff to care for the smallest and most critically ill newborns. Each year, 1,000 high-risk infants like Jaiden are treated in Miller Children’s NICU.
Jaiden responded well to her care in the NICU, steadily gaining weight despite some complications. She went home on Jan. 13, 2006—almost four months after her birth. Today, however, she’s a typical two-year-old living a life not restricted by her once-tiny stature. In fact, she’s meeting all developmental milestones for her age, including height and weight. And no one can argue the joy of that upward trend.
Because Jaiden is a growologist despite being born the size of her mother’s hand, she is our hero.