A baby born at only 23 weeks and weighing less than a bag of sugar has survived – despite doctors’ advising his mother to terminate the pregnancy when she went into early labor.
Mother-of-four Dulce Munoz, 32, from Riverside, California, went into premature labor with her baby Jayden – the result of her weakened cervix, which was caused by her three earlier pregnancies.
After two normal pregnancies Dulce suffered two miscarriages and when she conceived her third child, the mom had to undergo a cerclage procedure, which is when a ring is fitted in the opening of a malfunctioning cervix to try and support it.
The procedure, which took place when she was 16-weeks pregnant, enabled her to carry her third son to full term.
However it failed to prevent Dulce from going into premature labor with her fourth child Jayden who was born at 23 weeks, weighing only 1lb 6oz.
Fighter: A mother who went into labor with her third child at just 23 weeks says she was told by her doctor to terminate the pregnancy because the baby had no chance of survival
Fighter: Dulce Munoz’s son Jayden weighed just 1lb 6oz at birth, and had to spend five months in the NICU – where doctors gave him just a 30 per cent chance of survival
Shocking: ‘When my waters broke I rushed to the doctor but he said because he was only 23 weeks there was nothing much that they could do for him,’ Dulce revealed
Shockingly, Dulce says that when her waters broke, 14 weeks before she was due to reach full term, she rushed to the doctor – only to be advised that she should terminate the pregnancy, because there was ‘nothing much that they could do’.
Dulce said: ‘When my waters broke I rushed to the doctor but he said because he was only 23 weeks there was nothing much that they could do for him.
‘He said the best option was to have an abortion – to induce me there and then and not help the baby when he was born, just wait for his heart to stop.’
The devastated mother was also warned that if she gave birth to her son at such an early stage in her pregnancy, he would like suffer from all kinds of health complications and disabilities.
‘He told me that if I decided to go ahead with the pregnancy that my son would be severely disabled, unable to walk and have lots of problems with his health,’ Dulce revealed.
‘I spent three days at the hospital crying because it was such a difficult decision to make. I could feel Jayden moving around inside me, still there and fighting.’
Helping hand: After getting the grim diagnosis from her doctor, Dulce was transferred to a nearby hospital that works with premature babies, and she gave birth two days later
Warrior: Despite doctors saying that Jayden had a slim chance of survival, the tiny tot kept fighting, and eventually made enough progress that he was allowed home at five months
Ongoing: Jayden spent the first year of his life, even after leaving hospital, still on oxygen and his parents had to constantly monitor his oxygen levels and heart rate
Thankfully, Dulce was offered support from a nurse, who advised her to transfer to a nearby hospital that specialized in preemie care.
‘A nurse told me there was another hospital nearby that works with premature babies that might be able to help so I got transferred there – they didn’t promise anything but said that they would do everything they could to help him,’ she said.
The mom gave birth to her son just two days after arriving at the hospital and staff immediately took baby Jayden away to try and save his life.
Babies that are born prematurely are given odds of survival based on their weight and how early they are born; a baby’s chance of surviving increases with every week that they spend in the womb.
Jayden, who arrived at just 23 weeks, was classified as ‘extremely premature’, and was therefore deemed to have just a 30 per cent chance of survival.
His lungs hadn’t formed properly due to his extreme prematurity so he had to be on a ventilator at all times and he was also very weak and prone to infection, resulting in him having seven blood transfusions during his hospital stay.
Dulce said: ‘I didn’t know what to expect when they took me to see him. I was really scared.
‘He was so small we weren’t even allowed to hold him until he was three months old.
Proud: After a year of ups and downs, Jayden eventually reached the stage where he didn’t have to be constantly monitored, and he started to grow and thrive
Baby boy: The youngster has since made a complete recovery, and is living a happy and healthy lifestyle with his family
Family: Jayden, now three, is baby brother to three siblings (pictured), and is thriving at home
‘The first time they put him on me for bonding he stopped breathing and they had to pull him off me and resuscitate him – it was really scary and made the whole journey really difficult.
‘I didn’t know what to expect each time I held him.’
Jayden spent the first year of his life, even after leaving hospital, still on oxygen and his parents had to constantly monitor his oxygen levels and heart rate.
He had a condition called sleep apnea where he would stop breathing in his sleep and have to be woken to stop him from suffocating.
After a long recovery building his strength he beat the odds to make a miraculous full recovery and is now a completely healthy and able three year old.
Dulce said: ‘It was a happy moment bringing him home but also a scary one because he was still on oxygen for another year.
‘We didn’t know if he would make it but he fought through everything and now he’s a healthy boy with no problems, walking, running and starting to talk properly.
‘He’s our miracle baby and it’s so good to see him playing with his brothers and know that I made the right decision.
‘I would’ve loved him and been there for him no matter what.’