Weighing a shocking 8 ounces, this baby was just slightly heavier than a large banana. Although she seems to have pulled through, in the beginning, things looked much bleaker for this little fighter.
Emilia Grabarczyk is now regarded as being the smallest surviving premature baby in the world. She was born to father, Lukas, 34, and Sabine, 30, after they agreed for her to undergo a C-section to save the life of their baby. Sabine gave birth to Emilia at the Maria Hospital in Witten, Germany over a year ago. Her survival story was regarded by her doctors as a “medical sensation”.
At birth, her feet were literally the size of a fingernail; and German media announced that she was the lightest baby to be born in the world. Her chances of survival were very uncertain just following the birth; and doctors knew that such a birth may have led to further complications. Problems such as hyperactivity, and learning difficulties could also occur further down the road; though thankfully there were no signs of disability at the time.
At first Emilia had to be fed through a tiny tube, while a cotton bud soaked in sugar water was used to ease her discomfort and pain. She also had to undergo surgery when she was just 12 ounces. In the end, the doctors all called her the, “little fighter” to describe her unremitting will to live.
Dr. Sven Schiermeier, the chief physician of obstetrics said that Emilia would have died in the womb had both parents not agreed to the Caesarian section. The fetus had been malnourished because the placenta was not providing the necessary nutrients. Most babies at 26 weeks would have weighed more than 3 times what Emilia weighed by that stage.
Despite that, the odds were already low, and there was no question in the parents’ minds that they would do everything to give their baby a chance at life.
“There were many difficult days and many tears, but she clearly wanted to survive,” Sabine said.
As of late last year, Emilia’s physical condition had improved by leaps and bounds. She weighed a much healthier 106 oz.
According to Dr. Bahman Gharavi, Head of the Children and Youth Clinic at the Maria Hospital, her birth was truly a phenomenon, and was possible only due to a joint effort from several areas of expertise, with cooperation between pediatricians, gynecologists and pediatric surgeons.
The previous record for the smallest baby was Rumaisa Rahman, who was born in the Loyola Medical Center in Chicago. In 2004, Rahman was born at 25 weeks, and weighed a mere 8.6 oz.
The preciousness of life is something all living creatures instinctively know about. Born in such a fragile state as these children, their lives are truly in our hands. Thankfully, we know deep down how to treasure it, protect it, and fight for it… no matter what.
Currently, she is 3 kg (roughly 6.6lbs) and going strong. Like we said before, her birth is indeed special.