The Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., is marking a major milestone for baby E'Layah Faith Pegues, the smallest surviving premature baby ever born at the hospital and "one of the world's smallest babies ever born," according to E'Layah's doctor.
Parents Megan Smith and Eric Pegues celebrated their baby's original due date on Tuesday at the medical center's Levine Children's Hospital. A location where they shared baby E'Layah Faith's story of fight and survival since Sept. 23.
Baby E'Layah Faith was born three-and-a-half months before Smith's due date and weighed 10 ounces and was 10 inches long.
Her neonatologist, Dr. Andrew Herman, told ABC News today that the young girl weighed less than a pound and fit "head-to-toe" in his palm when she was born.
"To be honest, we were unsure if E'Layah was going to make it," Herman said, "but the doctor who delivered her could see she had a fighting chance, and her parents never lost faith it was possible she'd survive."
Today, E'Layah is not only surviving but thriving. She now weighs about five times her original birth weight, and she is expected to go home within a week or two, said Herman, her neonatologist and chief medical officer at Levine Children’s Hospital.
The three-month-old has overcome "a series of hurdles," including relying on a ventilator for breathing, undergoing several blood transfusions and numerous complications with her undeveloped organs, Herman said. Despite this, E'Layah is expected to "live, thrive, play and be happy as a healthy normal kid," he said.
The little fighter's mother, Megan Smith, told ABC News today, that she and her fiance gave their child the middle name "Faith" because when they were told to prepare for the worse, they decided they "would always have faith" and that they were "never going to give up on her."
Smith, 29, added that despite work and other responsibilities, she and her fiance have tried to spend "nearly all their time" with their new daughter.
Though the past three months "have been a roller-coaster" for the new parents, Smith said that "every precious moment spent with our daughter has made everything worth it."
"One day, I was holding her, and my fiance called me while I was in school and said let me speak to E'Layah," Smith said. "I put the phone to her ear, and her eyes just opened up, and she started smiling. He also always sings to her and tell her she's Daddy's Little Girl or Daddy's Little Angel, and I just love that -- our precious moments with her."