Christmas came early for the Palmer family.
After eight stressful months in hospital, tiny Amin Palmer was able to return home this week. He was born more than three months premature, undergoing several surgeries and numerous complications.
‘He’s a miracle,’ said mom Davina Palmer. ‘Even the doctors say so. He’s doing really well. I think the whole island must have been praying for him.’
Davina came home with Amin Tuesday after a four-month stay in Miami where her son was in intensive care fighting for his life. She said returning home in time to celebrate Christmas as a family – with husband Colin and their four-year-old son Amir – was at the top of her wish list.
‘I would have done anything to get back.’
Amin was born 29 March at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami at just 23 weeks. A normal pregnancy lasts around 40 weeks.
He weighed 1-lb 3-oz and measured 11 inches long.
He holds the record at Jackson Memorial as the youngest premature baby born at the hospital to have survived. The previous record holder was 24 weeks.
Amin now weighs 13 lbs 2 oz.
‘He’s small but he’s doing what a four-month-old should do,’ said Davina.
Babies born before their mothers reach full-term are at higher risk of medical and developmental problems. The shorter time of gestation, the greater the risk of complications following birth including heart defects, respiratory problems, blindness and brain damage.
Davina and Colin said they were doubtful at times their baby would live.
‘I didn’t see how he could make it through,’ said Davina. ‘His skin was so thin, you could see through it.’
Amin was treated for numerous complications during his hospital stay. Among them: two heart surgeries, kidney failure and meningitis. He was put on a ventilator to aid his breathing and fed through a tube. He underwent several blood transfusions for anaemia.
‘It was hard. Really hard,’ said Colin. ‘But he’s past the worst now.’
Amin still has health problems. He has chronic lung disease – he’s on oxygen at home – and will have to undergo eye surgery. He’s on a heart monitor and remains on a feeding tube though he can eat on his own at times.
It’s been a trying time for the Palmers. Both said they couldn’t have gone through it without support from friends, family and colleagues.
Though insurance covered all medical bills, costs of flying back and forth to Miami as well as accommodations added up. The Department of Children and Family Services stepped in to assist with expenses.
Davina is grateful to her co-workers at the Department of Immigration who collected $500 to help out along with deputy chief immigration officer Kerry Nixon for holding her job during her stay in Miami.
‘There are so many people we want to thank. We are so grateful to everyone.’