Premature baby born at just 15 ounces goes home after 460 days in NICU 9 months ago

Premature baby born at just 15 ounces goes home after 460 days in NICU

He's now thriving at 15 months old.

A premature baby born in the US at just 15 ounces has finally gotten to go home after spending 460 days in a NICU unit.

Kendall Jurnakins was born at 25 weeks gestation in December 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Weighing just 15 ounces, he was reportedly small enough to fit in the palm of a hand.

The preemie's chances of survival were between 50-60% as he suffered from respiratory distress syndrome and chronic lung disease following his arrival.

"I just was scared my baby wasn't gonna make it," his mother, Sparkle Jurnakins, told Good Morning America.

Kendall went on to have a tracheostomy – a surgical procedure in which a hole is created at the front of the neck so that a breathing tube can be placed directly into the windpipe – and was also placed on a ventilator.

Credit: Good Morning America

As he progressed but remained in hospital, his mum had her own health scare eight months after delivering her premature son.

"COVID almost took me out," Sparkle told GMA. "From August to October [2021], I was in a coma."

She only got to reunite with her son in December, a year on from his birth.

Though the mum feared "he was not gonna remember me," the baby boy "looked at me the whole time" during their reunion.

Now 15 months old, Kendall has finally gone home to live with his family. As staff at Ascension St. Vincent Women's Hospital said goodbye earlier this month, they threw a cheer parade to see the little one off.

"This moment, actually, I have no words," NICU medical director Dr. Taha Ben Saad told NBC's WTHR. "It's such a reward for all of us."

Sparkle added that getting to take home her baby boy was "the best day of my life".

"I was just like, 'Oh, my baby really made it,'" she told GMA. "I prayed. I cried. I was happy. I was sad. I was everything but I was ready for my baby to come home."