Kwek Yu Xuan, known as the world's smallest baby at birth, was at last discharged from National University Hospital (NUH) in Singapore after spending 13 months in the neonatal intensive care. The baby's weight was equal to an apple and its survival was not guaranteed. However, after receiving continuous treatment from doctors and overcoming all odds, Kwek Yu Xuan has finally joined her parents at home.
Kwek Yu Xuan was born on June 9, 2020 and weighed just 212 gms (7.47oz). She was just 24 cms long, equal to the height of a mineral water bottle. Things, however, look changed now. At the time of discharge, Yu Xuan weighed 6.3 kg [14 pounds]. The child was born four months prior to the scheduled delivery date. Initially, her parents, who work in Singapore and are permanent residents of the country had intended to give birth to the baby in Malaysia, where their families reside.
Preeclampsia and Emergency Surgery
But on June 8, 2020, Yu Xuan's mother Wong Mei Ling had severe abdominal pain and was rushed to NUH. She suffered from preeclampsia and underwent an emergency caesarean section when she was pregnant for 25 weeks. Due to high blood pressure which was life-threatening for both the mother and the child, the couple decided go for an emergency surgery, after being advised by doctors.
The baby is also known as special COVID-19 baby, who survived despite all odds. According to Channel News Asia, hospital released a statement that read: "Against the odds, with health complications present at birth, she has inspired people around her with her perseverance and growth, which makes her an extraordinary "Covid-19" baby - a ray of hope amid turmoil."
Yu Xuan Under Treatment
For this miracle to happen, Yu Xuan had to undergo a series of treatments and was placed on various kinds of machines that helped her grow. As soon as Yu Xuan was born she was put on a ventilator with breathing tube that was inserted with great difficulty. She was fed through a tube. Doctors and medical staff had to source a smaller diaper because the regular child diapers were too big for her. Looking after Yu Xuan was quite challenging for the medical staff as well. Doctors brainstormed on a daily basis to decide what was good for Yu Xuan.
Finally, their efforts paid off when Yu Xuan weighed 678 gms. The tube was removed and nose prongs were used with ventilator when the baby started breathing on her own. But due to complications in her lung, she needed the support of ventilator.
Yu Xuan is still suffering from lung disease and has difficulty in breathing. She has to depend on a machine that helps her breath properly. Doctors have expressed hope that her condition will get better with time.
That said, challenges are not over for Yu Xuan as her health condition is still very delicate. The hospital has trained her parents about using various machines in case Yu Xuan faces any emergency health concerns. They conducted rehearsals and finally the decision to discharge Yu Xuan was taken after doctors became confident that parents can take care of the child.
The couple was able to keep the baby in hospital for 13 months with the help of a crowdfunding campaign. Parents of the pre-mature baby managed to raised $270,601 through funds that helped them pay the hospital bills.
According to the Tiniest Babies Registry of the University of Iowa, Yu Xuan is probably the lightest baby born and managed to survive. The record was previously held by baby Saybie in the U.S. that weighed 245 gms in December 2018. Prior to this, a baby girl from Germany, born weighing 252g in 2015 held the record of being the lightest premature baby in the world.