Tiny miracle graduates: Premature SoCal baby weighing less than a pound finally goes home


LOS ANGELES (KABC) — When Ellyannah Lopez was born, she weighed less than a pound. Now, she is finally home.

The staff at Guerin Children’s Cedars-Sinai gave the 10-month-old a huge send off.

“Ellyannah may be one of the smallest babies, if not the smallest baby, that we’ve seen here at Cedars-Sinai Guerin Children’s,” said Neonatologist Dr. Seth Langston.

Less than one percent of babies are born at 26 weeks. At the time, the lives of both Ellyannah and her mom, Cecia Juarez, were at stake. Doctors had to deliver, and soon after, she arrived roughly the size of a soda can.

“Ellie was 363 grams, that is 12 ounces, which is less than a pound when she was born,” said Boris Lopez, Ellyannah’s dad.

In the NICU 3 months ago, her parents described her birth.

“None of the doctors in that operating room thought that she would cry, and when she did, I could hear everybody saying, ‘Is that her?'” recalled Juarez.

“Because of her small size, she had all the odds stacked against her. She needed help breathing with a ventilator. She needed antibiotics to treat infections, and she had challenges with feeding,” said Langston.

He said Ellyannah courageously overcame crisis after crisis. At 18 pounds, she’s meeting many milestones.

Next, she’ll need to learn how to eat on her own.

“In the meantime, she will have a feeding tube in her stomach that is going to help her to feed and she’ll also go home with a little bit of oxygen,” said Juarez.

Ellyannah faces many more medical challenges ahead but her parents say Friday’s graduation is the most special because it shows her strength and her resilience.

“If you can graduate from the NICU, you can do anything in your life,” Juarez said.

Ellyannah’s mom said even from small beginnings, great things are possible.

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