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Iowa Mom Gives Birth to 13-ounce ‘Miracle’ Baby at 23 Weeks

By Samuel Allegri

Ellonn Smartt had been pregnant for 23 weeks when her water broke, she tried her best to stay calm and protect her child.

“I knew if I panicked, the baby would pick up on that and get stressed,” Smartt told TODAY Parents. “I couldn’t let that happen.”

But soon after, she received bad news from the doctors that babies don’t normally survive under those circumstances, and she broke into tears.

“They said I was going to have to deliver in the next day or two and there was a good chance he wouldn’t survive,” Smartt said. “That was the moment when I fell apart. I was heartbroken.”

Usually, premature babies are not expected to be able to control their four limbs and need help breathing. Jaden Wesley Morrow, Smartt’s baby, defied the standard set of rules and came out swinging an arm and screaming as loud as he could, he even started taking breast milk as soon as he came out, reported KCCI.

He was born on July 11, weighing just 13 ounces, he is the smallest baby born in the past 10 years at Blank Children’s Hospital.

Typically male babies weigh about 7 pounds, 6 ounces.

The little boy came out with a resolution to live, “His arms and toes were moving, and he was trying to breathe on his own,” Smartt told TODAY. “He’s our little miracle.”

Jaden will be discharged on Nov. 6.

“For most part, Jaden is stable,” Smartt said. “He’s on a ventilator and had a small infection, but his doctors think he looks great. He’s getting breast milk and gaining weight.”

Dr. Krista Haines, a neonatologist at DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, told TODAY that babies born at 23 weeks have serious health risks like brain bleeds, bone fractures, infections, blindness, etc.

“Long term we know that there are motor and cognitive delays as well as fine motor delays,” Haines said.

“We know too that some of these babies do really, really well and that they can function similar to their peers,” Dr. Haines said. “Early intervention is the most important thing. It’s absolutely crucial.”

Smartt expressed that she wanted to have him in his own crib, “I have moments where I get sad because I want him home with me,” she said. “But I am staying positive for Jaden.”

The couple hasn’t been able to hold him yet as he is being held in an incubator.

“I’m so proud of him,” Smartt said. “I go in and talk to him, and I tell him that I’m proud of him every day.”

A GoFundMe page has been made to help the couple pay the medical bills and other expenses incurred while taking care of Jaden.

A Caring Bridge page was also set up to give updates on Jaden, it reads in part, “Weighing in at a whopping 13 ounces, I’m already wowing the Doctors. I’ve heard them use terms like ‘amazing’ and ‘remarkable’ to describe me so far—not bad for someone under 1 pound, huh? My parents and my grandma are going to use this site to let you know how I’m coming along in the NICU.”