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‘Miracle’ baby born at just 22 weeks goes home after 4 months in NICU

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 10:12 AM CST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT/Gray News) – A premature baby born in Virginia is defying the odds and astonishing doctors.

Little Leilani was born at 22 weeks, weighing just about one pound. Now, she is finally home after four months in the NICU.

Her mother, Shantel Allmon, told WWBT she knew something wasn’t right when her water broke only five and half months into her pregnancy.

“I honestly thought I had a miscarriage in my bathroom, so I’m crying hysterically; I start to panic,” Allmon said.

She went to the hospital, where she gave birth to her baby girl about 14-18 weeks early.

“Scariest moment of my life, honestly,” Allmon said. “I didn’t even think there was a chance for her at 22 weeks.”

“It is very tough. There are a lot of unknowns when babies are born so prematurely. They have a lot of risk factors. Their survival isn’t guaranteed,” Dr. Joseph Khoury with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU said. “She’s amazing. She’s a miracle, and we really have to tell people.”

Khoury is one of the many who cared for Leilani during her four-month stay in the NICU.

After several procedures and almost three months on a ventilator, doctors and nurses in and around the NICU are ecstatic to see her home and thriving.

“She’s acting like a full-term baby, just feeding, not requiring any kind of support at all when she went home,” Khoury said.

Allmon said she is forever grateful for the care her daughter received.

“The whole time I was in there, the doctors and nurses were awesome. Her nurse Morgan would call me every other day, send pictures over to me every other day,” Allmon said. “For her to be released with just a vitamin, we’re blessed.”

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