— -- One of the world's smallest surviving babies is finally out of the hospital.
Born 14 weeks early and weighing just 10 ounces, E'Layah Faith Pergues faced an uphill battle to survive. Her doctors at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, were not sure that she would survive her delivery or the first few weeks of life. She was born so early that doctors weren't even sure how to feed her.
“Our goal since her birth was to grow her as quickly and as safely as we could,” said Dr. Andrew Herman, MD, neonatologist and chief medical officer at Levine Children’s Hospital in a statement. Eventually they combined formula and breast milk to keep E'Layah healthy.
“We’ve had to fine-tune our approach with E’Layah,” Herman added. “We are now feeding her a combination of protein, fat, sugar, electrolytes and vitamins that will help prevent infections, mature her intestines and help her gain weight.”
Her doctors believe she is the smallest surviving baby ever seen at the hospital and affectionately dubbed her "tater tot" due to her size.
E'Layah's mother, Megan Smith, had a difficult pregnancy, suffering from high blood pressure and even having two strokes. Although she was on bed rest for a month, she had an emergency Cesarean section after doctors realized that E'Layah had stopped moving.
Today, after five months, E'Layah is finally spending her first full day at home. Weighing in at a healthy 5 pounds and 7 ounces, she's now "outgrown most of her preemie clothes," her mother said in a statement released by the hospital.
“She is a very busy little lady, always grabbing and pulling things and moving around," Smith said. "We are all very excited to be going home. It’s been a long journey and we are looking forward to the next chapter."
Despite her small stature, E'Layah's parents are confident that their daughter will grow into an active child.
“I know she will be something special, whether it’s running on the track, ballet lessons or even basketball,” Smith said. "We pray for her strength. E’Layah is our miracle baby girl.”