Baby Grace was born prematurely in May and classified as a miscarriage. She has been given a second chance at life and goes home for the first time after 116 days in the hospital.

Baby Grace was born at George Hospital and weighed only 500g at birth. She struggled to breathe properly and her mother, Jacqueline Petro, was told her child had been classified as a miscarriage.

“I initially said goodbye to Grace after birth as she was classified as a miscarriage being so early and not breathing directly after birth,” she said.

Thanks to the hardworking team at George Hospital, her baby soon began breathing. However, her health took another turn and doctors told Jacqueline that Grace had a survival chance of less than 20%.

“I told the doctor to give me my baby and I put her on my chest and told the Lord that if He wants to take her, He needs to do it now, because He won’t have this chance again tomorrow,” she said.

Luckily, Grace survived. She was discharged on Saturday, September 19 after 116 days in the hospital.

Dr Ilse Els, head of the neonatal ICU at George Hospital, explains that Grace’s survival story is thanks to medical advances, caring staff and a spirit that refused to give up.

“Gracie survived so many challenges. She had been a little star patient from the beginning and took every challenge in her stride. Her survival is a testimony to the value of the three pillars of good basic neonatal care: a warm incubator combined with kangaroo care, safe oxygen therapy with high-flow nasal cannula oxygen, and breast milk.

“This, wrapped in a care package of dedicated nursing and medical staff, and then a little fighting spirit in a 500g fighter.”

The staff will continue to monitor her with follow-up appointments at their high-risk clinic.

“We salute you, little one. Your fighting spirit kept us fighting through the difficult Covid-19 times,” said Els.

Picture/s: Western Cape Government

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