Baby Hope, born at 300g in March, makes it home in time for her first Christmas

Baby Hope at Netcare Kuils River Hospital, where the little fighter has won the hearts of staff, doctors and management. (Supplied)
Baby Hope at Netcare Kuils River Hospital, where the little fighter has won the hearts of staff, doctors and management. (Supplied)

Baby Hope Daniels – a micro-premature baby born at 24 weeks gestation earlier this year – is to spend her first Christmas with her family at home.

Hope weighed 300g when she was born on March 19 and spent several months in hospital.

However, she was discharged on Friday – just in time for the holidays – and her family is over the moon.

Hope's mother, Dorianne Daniels, described her little girl as "my miracle baby".

"My husband, Lesley, and I have been trying to have a baby for the past 10 years. So, we have been praying hard for Hope ever since her birth," Daniels said.

Describing how they felt when she was in hospital, Daniels said: "The 275 days that Hope has spent in hospital have been exceptionally hard and something of an emotional roller coaster, but we are deeply grateful to have reached a point where she is now ready to come home with us."

Hope is thought to be one of the smallest micro-premature babies, in terms of weight, to ever survive in South Africa.

She was born via emergency caesarean section at Netcare Kuils River in Cape Town.

According to the hospital's spokesperson, Karen Eagle, Hope had to spend more than nine months in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit before doctors deemed her strong enough to be discharged.

Eagle said Hope won over the hearts of doctors, the hospital's management, nurses and other staff members, who bid her farewell as she left with her parents.

'Amazed by Hope's dogged determination'

Dr Zaheera Kajee, a neonatologist who was part of the team taking care of Hope said: "We have been most satisfied with Hope's neurological, visual and hearing developmental progress. Now weighing 5.44kg, she is growing strong and already has such a strong personality." 

Kajee said Hope would still require special care and feeding at home. However, they would continue to keep a close eye on her development and health as she grows.

She said, although Hope was not the youngest, some claimed she was considered the smallest micro-premature baby to survive in South Africa.

Kajee recalled that she feared for Hope because she was significantly premature and her organ systems were very underdeveloped.

She said she had to warn her parents that there was a high risk that Hope may not survive and, if she did, she was likely to face numerous challenges to her health and development.

"The team at the hospital have been amazed by Hope's dogged determination to not only survive, but also to thrive. I think that we all steeled ourselves for the worst but, to our astonishment, she not only firmly announced her presence after she was born, but also went on to overcome most obstacles that such micro-premature babies usually face," said Kajee. 

Dr Paul Keating, a paediatrician who was also involved in Hope's care, said a major problems was that it is not possible to ventilate such a tiny baby.

"We provided Hope with all of the supportive care we could, but with such underdeveloped lungs, she had to breathe on her own. I am delighted to say that Hope did this from the start with great aplomb," Keating said.

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