Smallest preemie gains strength

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The tiniest surviving premature
baby born in Cayman is growing and gaining strength in an incubator in the
Cayman Islands Hospital’s neo-natal unit.

Jaydah was just 1-pound, 10-ounces
when she was born by Caesarean section on 1 June at 26 weeks’ gestation. Six
weeks later, she weighs 2-pounds, 9-ounces.

Although she is still tiny,
paediatrician James Robertson said the baby is “doing really well, much better than
anyone could have expected”.

“If she were a 70-kilo (154-pound)
adult, what she is eating would be the equivalent of 8,000 calories a day,” he
said.

In most cases, if there are
indications a baby will be born below 28 weeks’ gestation, the mother is sent
to an overseas hospital. In this instance, the child was born in Cayman because
the hospital her mother would have been sent to in Jamaica had a bed for her
but no incubator for the baby.

Speaking at the neo-natal centre
where Jaydah is being cared for, her mother who visits her daily said she and
her husband can’t wait to take her baby home. However, that homecoming is still
a few weeks away, since most premature babies go home at 36-38 weeks. Jaydah
will be 36 weeks on 27 July.

Her mother, who did not want the
family’s name revealed, was admitted to hospital in late May after she went
into premature labour. She stayed at the hospital for two days before giving
birth.

“At the time, I was admitted to
hospital for bed rest because the [amniotic] fluid was going… The option was
to fly me to Jamaica, but there was no incubator, so I could not go. At that
time, it was quite unstable in Jamaica and I didn’t want to go there yet. There
would probably have been a shortage of nurses who could not get to work.”

There had been unrest in Kingston
at the time as police attempted to arrest Christopher “Dudus” Coke.

“I’m glad I didn’t make it to
Jamaica at that time. I knew the baby was going to be small and the chances of
her surviving here came to my mind and I thought maybe her chances of making it
in Jamaica might be better. Of course, any mother would be worried having a
premature baby – you don’t know what the outcome will be. But in the end, it
all seemed part of God’s plan,” the mother said.

“Now, she’s here and she’s a
miracle,” she added. “I want to thank God and the hospital and the nurses and
doctors.”

The baby’s father agreed,
describing his daughter’s birth as “a miracle from God because with him all
things was possible for her to have born so early and not having any
complications.”

He added; “Thanks to all the
doctors in the delivery, Dr. Robertson, Dr El-madany and all the nurses who was
there for little Jaydah, thank you all.”

Obstetrician Rommel El-Madany
delivered the baby, with nurse Annie Rose and Mr. Robertson present.

Before Jaydah’s birth, the smallest
baby to be born in Cayman was delivered at 24 weeks’ gestation, weighing
1-pound, 14-ounces, Mr. Robertson said.

He said Jaydah had a few things in
her favour to help with her survival: she is female, and girls are more likely
to survive premature births than males; her mother could immediately produce
milk for her; and nurses signed up to double the number of staff on shift so
that there would be constant care for the tiny new arrival.

Ingesting mother’s milk from the
start gives babies a higher chance of survival and fights infection. “Mum
provided milk, lots of milk quickly, so we could feed her quicker,” Mr. Robertson
said.

Premature babies often suffer
severe respiratory problems, but Jaydah did not need to be put on a ventilator.
Instead, the medical staff used continuous positive airway pressure, or C-PAP,
which assisted with the baby’s breathing.

Neo-natal nurse Kerry Bennett-Reed
said that babies on C-PAP need constant one-on-one care, so the nurses and
midwives took extra shifts. “Usually, there’s just one nurse on the unit at a
time, so we needed two nurses at all times.”

Jaydah’s development and progress
is being closely monitored, and she appears to be growing at a normal rate, Mr.
Robertson said, with her head growing at an appropriate rate and her eyesight
normal.

The baby is being kept in an
incubator so that she can expend all her energy on growing rather than keeping
warm, but as she is growing stronger; her mother has already had her out of the
incubator to give her a cuddle.

TOPnewsmallpreemieSTORY

Jaydah, pictured on Wednesday 14 July, now weighs 2lbs 9oz.
Photo: Norma Connolly
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3 COMMENTS

  1. This is such a lovely news story – so uplifting and positive compared to Cayman’s other issues a the momnet. I wish Jaydah well and continuing growth!

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  2. My congratulations to Dr.El-Madany and Dr. James Robertson for their expertise and perseverence in the delivery of Baby Jaydah. To the staff of the HSA for making this great miracle happen for the parents. This is a great move forward to instill the confidence of the Cayman population in their health system. May God bless those who have, and still are playing a part in Jaydah’s daily progress!

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