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Baby Born the Size of Soda Can Heads Home From West Boca Hospital

A premature baby girl weighing only 12 ounces spent almost six months in the NICU building her strength. Now she’s nine pounds and ready to go home.

BOCA RATON, FLORIDA — Cheyenne Tomblin was born on September 11, 2022, weighing only 12 ounces and was about the size of a can of soda. The newborn is the smallest that West Boca Medical Center has ever seen – and one of the smallest in the world to survive.

But now, after almost 200 days in the neonatal ICU, Cheyenne is headed home. Nurses said at a press conference on Tuesday that Cheyenne is on the “launching pad” and should be going home today. As of today, she weighs nine pounds, five ounces.

Caption: Left: Cheyenne Tomblin in 2022 at 12 ounces. Right: Cheyenne Tomblin in 2023 at 9 lbs., 5 oz.

“She might be small, but she’s bigger than everybody else,” Hermine Wallace, a NICU nurse, told reporters. “She’s ready to fight, and she’s been fighting since day one.”

Beating improbable odds, Cheyenne had a 9 percent chance of survival after being born at 24 weeks at such a low birth weight. Neonatologist Dr. Penna Reddy said her organs were not yet fully developed.

“The baby was not growing in utero. That was one of the main concerns. She faced severe growth restriction. All the organs were immature and not ready for outside life,” said Dr. Reddy.

Cheyenne’s mother, Czierrah Tomblin, needed an emergency cesarean section after developing preeclampsia, a high blood pressure disorder that can cause fatal complications for the mother and the baby. In addition, the baby suffered from intrauterine growth restriction, a condition preventing proper growth inside the womb.

“I see the doctor with this small baby and I’m literally shivering and thinking, ‘What are we going to do with this baby?’ I have never seen a baby this small,” said head nurse Floirent Alexis. “And then all of a sudden, we hear a little voice screaming and crying at us. And I thought, ‘This baby just saved the day,’ because honestly, we didn’t know what we could do.”

Cheyenne spent almost six months in the NICU, was fed intravenously, and worked with a physical therapist to help her gain muscle. At one point, she had to be placed on a ventilator. Nurses said it was intense but remained hopeful and prayed for Cheyenne daily.

Caption: Czierrah Tomblin at a press conference on Tuesday.

Tomblin said hospital staff treated her like family and helped her recover and stay positive. At the press conference, she said she wanted to encourage other parents who might be in similar situations.