Memorial Hospital releases smallest baby to ever live in hospital history

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) — Monday was a six-and-a-half-month day for Tim and Brooke Mead, of Niles, as they were finally able to bring home their first child, Audrey, from Memorial Hospital.

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

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

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

“If you look at our statistics from the National Institute of Child Health, those aren’t even numbers for 300-gram babies,” explained Dr. Basharat Buchh, MD, Audrey’s NICU physician. “Babies born at this early stage of gestation, if they are not well, they tell us right away in the first days of life.”

Brooke, a Memorial employee, said she relied on faith to navigate the uncertainty.

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

The nursing team will be missed by Audrey, who now weighs almost 11 pounds.

“While she was here we always called her ‘The Secret Keeper’,” said NICU nurse Emily Fredericks. “We would come in and tell him all kinds of things. We would come in and hold her, read her stories. She knows all the drama, all the gossip, so she’s going to be really, really missed here.

Seeing Audrey’s “Graduation Day” is why Buchh and her colleagues do what they do.

“Not everyone born in the NICU or cared for in the NICU is doing well. But it’s times like these, days when kids like this come home, that keep us going, bring us immense joy,” Buchh remarked.

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