When Kwek Yu Xuan was born in early June 2020, four months early, the tiny newborn was about 9.5 inches long and weighed just 7.47 ounces—about how much an apple weighs, making her the smallest baby ever born, per the BBC. Yu Xuan's mother, who had the dangerous condition of preeclampsia while pregnant, had delivered her via emergency C-section at just 25 weeks, and the baby had a "limited chance of survival," according to National University Hospital, the medical center in Singapore where she was born. We can now consider Yu Xuan an odds-breaker. The little girl, now 14 months old, has finally gone home after spending more than a year receiving intensive treatment at the hospital, including weeks on a ventilator to help her tiny lungs function, per the Straits Times. Her weight at discharge: an impressive 14 pounds.
When Yu Xuan was born so early, her parents were surprised, as her older brother had arrived around his due date. NDTV and the Times detail the challenges in caring for Yu Xuan: Her skin was too fragile for probes to be used; newborn diapers had to be cut to size; and the calculation for her meds "had to be down to the decimal points," one doctor notes. To help pay for her hospital stay, Yu Xuan's parents crowdfunded, raising more than $365,000. The baby still struggles with chronic lung disease and uses a ventilator at home to help her breathe, but doctors are hoping that will ease with time. She feeds on her own from a bottle, and her parents are just grateful she's home. "Against the odds ... she has inspired people around her with her perseverance and growth, which makes her an extraordinary 'COVID-19' baby—a ray of hope amid turmoil," the hospital notes in a statement. The tiniest baby before Yu Xuan was born in 2018 in Iowa, weighing about 8.6 ounces. (Read more preemies stories.)