Baby who weighed less than an iPad doing fine
Susie cradles son Nicholas watched by husband Christopher and Dr Monika.
Dubai - Nicolas was born 14 weeks prematurely on October 4, 2015, at City Hospital.
It's a story of survival against all odds. A baby boy, who weighed less than an iPad at birth, at 530 grammes, could possibly be the most premature to live in the UAE, according to a doctor who cared for the child.
Appropriately named Nicolas, meaning victory of the people, the tiny baby's father Christopher Sacramento said that "it was a long and costly journey".
Nicolas was born 14 weeks prematurely on October 4, 2015, at City Hospital. For 110 days, he was cared for at Zulekha Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Dubai.
Classed as a micro preemie because he weighed less than 900 grammes, Nicolas is now doing well at home with his parents. He is the couple's second child.
Doctors said that at one point they feared that the child may not live because his skin was so delicate it would tear if they touched it.
"Nicolas is likely to be the most premature baby to survive in this country as far as I know," said Dr Monika Kaushal, consultant neonatologist at Zulekha Hospital.
"At birth he weighed just 530 grammes, much less than an iPad." She said he belongs to a new group of babies known as micro-preemies as such children weigh less than 900gm.
Chances of survival and normal development for a 23-week pre-term infant are only 40 per cent. "Nicolas's survival is intact since there was no damage to brain, lungs or eyes," she explained.
"While the first 'golden hour' after birth is crucial for premature babies, this is reduced to a 'golden 10 minutes' in neonatal care," added Dr Monika.
The doctor also said that such children needed to be managed delicately.
"Nicolas was given special medicine for his lungs, special equipment for temperature maintenance, transport and hooked to a ventilator in NICU. He survived despite having immature lungs, immature gut, brain and skin, fragile bones and, above all, infections. We could not touch him as his skin would tear instantly."
But after days of nurturing, Nicholas weighed a much healthier 1.9kg and was able to go home with his parents. "We weighed him just yesterday and he is now 2.10kg," said Christopher who works as a Digital Sales Specialist.
"However, it is an ongoing journey and we are following up with doctors though they have assured us there are no major complications with Nicolas," he said.
"We stayed in hospital for almost four months," he said. "It is long and very emotional. It is very challenging, but full of miracle."
Currently, Nicolas requires special check-ups on his physical growth and neurological development on a weekly basis, but his visits should become less frequent with time, according to Dr Monika.
A baby born at 23 weeks in 2012 in the UK survived a birth weight of 382 grammes.