Meet Kwek Yu Xuan, the world's tiniest baby at birth
A baby, believed to be the world's tiniest at birth, is now home after 13 months of intensive treatment at a hospital in Singapore. Kwek Yu Xuan was born on June 9 last year at the National University Hospital (NUH). She was delivered at just 25 weeks, making her four months premature. Here's her story.
"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," the hospital said in a statement.
Doctors had expected Yu Xuan's weight to be at least 400 grams at birth, but she weighed just 212 grams - as light as an apple. She also measured only 24 centimeter in length at that time. The hospital had described her chances of survival as "limited." She is now said to be the world's smallest baby to survive a premature birth.
The baby was delivered through emergency Caesarean section after her mother was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, a condition involving high blood pressure levels during pregnancy that can harm both the mother and the baby. Her parents raised S$366,884 ($270,601 or over Rs. 2 crore) through a crowdfunding campaign to pay for her lengthy hospital stay.
Of course, there were various challenges in treating the baby at the hospital. Her skin was so fragile that the doctors could not put probes on her, and her body so tiny that they had to arrange the smallest possible breathing tubes. In fact, her caretakers had to cut diapers so they could fit her.
Zhang Suhe, a nurse who cared for the baby at NUH, said she could not believe her eyes when she first saw her. "I was shocked so I spoke to the professor (in the same department) and asked if he could believe it. In my 22 years of being a nurse, I haven't seen such a small newborn baby," Suhe told The Straits Times.
Yu Xuan was discharged on July 9, weighing a much healthier 6.3 kg. She, however, still has chronic lung disease and will need help with her breathing at home. Doctors say she is expected to get better with time. Previously, the tiniest baby was a girl born in the US in December 2018, weighing 245 grams, according to University of Iowa's Tiniest Babies Registry.