Baby boy born at 25 weeks weighed just 390 g – but he's still fighting

By Richard van Rensburg
10 November 2016

Little Rayden was so tiny when he was born that his dad’s wedding band could easily fit around his ankle.

He was so tiny when he was born just more than a month ago that his dad’s wedding band could easily fit around his ankle. Doctors were forced to deliver little Rayden Mondragon, from Othello, Washington, in America, with a Caesarean after they discovered he wasn’t getting enough oxygen when his mom, Marissa, went for a routine check for Down syndrome at 20 weeks. At birth Rayden’s development was that of a 21-week-old foetus. He weighed only 390 g and measured just 26 cm.

Marissa and her husband, Robert, were excited when they heard their six-year-old, Robert Jnr, would be getting a little brother in January next year, they write on their page on a support website.

But tests showed the baby was abnormally small and wasn’t getting enough oxygen and nutrients through his placenta.

Read more: Watch: Premature baby’s heart beats OUTSIDE his body for the last time

At first doctors gave Marissa injections to stimulate his lungs but two weeks later they decided drastic measures were called for or the baby would die in the womb.

When the boy was rushed to a neonatal intensive care unit his parent started praying. Not only were his lungs badly underdeveloped, there were also problems with his digestive system.

"He was so small . . . Robert put his wedding ring on his leg when he was just three days old,” Marissa says. “He’s tiny but mighty.”

She could hold him for the first time only about two weeks later. "It had been really hard not to touch him and comfort him when he wasn't doing so well,” she says. "It was amazing . . . when the nurse sat him on my chest. I just watched him for an hour and a half.”

Read more: This captivating photo series shows premature babies all grown up

Fortunately scans to check for bleeding revealed the boy’s brain wasn’t affected.

It’s still too early to say with any certainty what the future holds for Rayden but his family are hopeful.

"It's been a tough month and we've had a few scares,” Melissa says. “Each day is a fight for him, but he’s also getting stronger every day.”


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