BY Dollita Okine, 2:07pm June 09, 2023,

Baby boy born at 23 weeks graduates hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit after 170 days

Baby Alanie Lettsome finally celebrates his victory of beating the odds of survival after being born at 23 weeks. Photo Credit: ABC News

Baby Alanie Lettsome finally celebrates his victory for beating the odds of survival after being born at 23 weeks.

He stayed at Broward Health Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Florida for 5 months. He weighed a little over one pound when he was born, according to CBS. Now, baby Alanie, who has grown healthier, is ready to go home with his parents who live in St. Thomas, Virginia Islands.

His mother, Graysel Stuart, told Good Morning America that she could hardly believe the news, although she was glad.

“I was just overwhelmed with joy and just ready, ready to come back home to see my family so that he can also meet his family since I don’t really have any family members to come to see me. So, I was happy to bring him [here] to see them,” she said.

In a release from Broward Health, Stuart obtained care from the hospital’s premiere location due to cervical incompetence that put her at a high risk of premature delivery. She was transferred from an emergency room in St. Thomas and gave birth to Alanie three days after she arrived in Fort Lauderdale, while she was in her 23rd week. Her baby was categorized as a micro preemie.

Stuart explained that she discovered she had cervical incompetence when she went in for an ultrasound to find her baby’s gender. She went under the knife to fix the issue with her cervix, but in the long run, the problem started again. Her care team in St. Thomas then contacted Broward Health and managed to get an appointment for her. “I left St. Thomas Sunday and I had Alanie on Wednesday,” she said.

According to CBS, Baby Alanie did not have the common complications that come with premature births, like brain bleeding and intestinal issues, even during his days in extensive care. Born weighing a little over 1 pound on November 30, Alanie has finally gone home weighing over 9 pounds.

Stuart noted that she was depressed for a while, but the medical team at Broward supported and cared for her both physically and mentally while she waited to take her baby home.  She spent her time participating in the hospital’s activities, like the NICU scrapbooking hour, where she documented Alanie’s journey, as well as socializing with other NICU parents.

Alanie’s father, Alvon Lettsome, came by to visit a week at a time every month while Stuart stayed with their son full time. Over time, the hospital team became like family.

Dr. Johny Tryzmel, medical director of the NICU at Broward Health, shared that in the cases of extremely premature babies like Alanie, the chance of survival ranges, but is usually less than 50 percent. He estimated that Alanie’s chances of survival were within the 30 percent range. According to him, the baby “beat the odds.”

Although Alanie is home, he still has to take injections for neutropenia, a condition where the body doesn’t produce enough neutrophils, which is a type of white blood cell – the injections help to boost the number. Stuart disclosed that she keeps him at home more to prevent infections.

All in all, Stuart stated that Alanie is “Very good now.” She added that he is a pretty cheerful baby who loves to laugh and smile, and is quite nosy. She also mentioned that she wanted her story to serve as a source of encouragement to other families going through her situation.

“Don’t give up. This is not what you imagined for the baby to go through, for your pregnancy to go through. Just don’t give up. Have faith.”

To Alanie, she said “You’ve been through a lot, so I know you’re here for a reason. You’ve overcome every obstacle thrown at you, and I hope you know how special you are.”

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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