Memorial Hospital discharges smallest baby to live in hospital history

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 5:55 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Monday was a day six and a half months in the making for Tim and Brooke Mead, of Niles, as they finally could bring home their first child, Audrey, from Memorial Hospital.

Audrey is the smallest baby ever born at the hospital to be discharged.

“It’s amazing to see her wiggling around so much and making all these noises. The progress that she’s made is just incredible,” said Tim, Audrey’s father.

The Meads welcomed Audrey almost four months early due to Brooke suffering from preeclampsia, a severe pregnancy complication. Audrey was born on Thanksgiving, weighing just under 11 ounces.

“If you look at our statistics from the National Institute of Child Health, they’re not even numbers for 300 gram babies,” explained Dr. Basharat Buchh, MD, Audrey’s NICU doctor. “Babies born at that early gestation, if they don’ well, they tell us right away in the first few days of life.”

Brooke, an employee at Memorial, said she relied on faith to get through the uncertainty.

“Honestly, I prayed every day. I prayed to God every day that she would make it,” she said, through tears. “We knew, like, that the first week was crucial. But even, you know, like that first week, she was moving around - like swinging her arms, kicking her feet. She was very active. And that gave us hope.”

The nursing team will miss Audrey, who weighs almost 11 pounds now.

“While she’s been here, we would always we call her ‘The Secret-Keeper,’” said Emily Fredericks, NICU nurse. “We would come in and tell her all kinds of things. We’d come in and hold her, read her stories. She knows all the drama, all the gossip, so we’re really, really gonna miss her around here.”

Seeing Audrey’s “graduation day” is why Buchh and his colleagues do what they do.

“Not everybody that is born in the NICU, or taken care of in the NICU, does well. But it’s moments like these, the days that kids like that go home that keep us going, give us immense joy,” remarked Buchh.

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