STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Every year nearly half a million babies are born prematurely in the U.S…. before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Ninety percent of them survive. A much smaller number or “Micro-Preemies” are born. Those are babies 23 to 25 weeks gestation, and the prognosis for them is not nearly as good. But a little baby with roots in Starkville is beating the odds. Here’s her story.
“Riley had an eight percent chance of surviving when she was born. Eight percent. When I look at her I can’t help but cry. She is indeed a ‘Miracle Baby’ ”
It’s hard even for Eboney Yates to fathom that fourteen months…and twenty-eight pounds ago, this bouncing baby girl was just barely one pound.
“Riley was one pound – two ounces. R.J. was one pound – seven ounces, and that’s considered micro preemies.”
Yates was just six months into her pregnancy when she went into labor, and hours later gave birth to her twins – a boy and a girl.
“They were so tiny I could see their bones, their veins, everything. Since they were so little their skin was so paper thin. Riley was the sicker baby at first, because she was the smaller one and R.J. was really that sick at all.”
Sadly though, R.J. didn’t make it. Doctors tried to repair a hole in his intestine, but warned the Yates that their baby boy might not survive. It was a tough time, mourning the loss of their baby boy, and trying to stay strong for their Riley. It wasn’t until she was four months old that they got to hold Riley for the first time.
“I got all dressed up. My husband and I like we were about to go to some fancy event. They were like ‘Where y’all going’. We were holding her for the first! I cried. My husband was crying. The nursed were crying. It was such a happy moment.”
And now after six months in the hospital, Riley is fourteen months old and continues to amaze even her doctors.
“Developmentally, she is doing good. She has poor muscle tone, and that’s just from being in the hospital ten months and being on her back and everything. She’s getting speech therapy and physical therapy, so now she’s just playing catch-up. ”
And it doesn’t look like Miss Riley is too far behind.
“I can’t wait until she’s old enough and understands her story that she is truly a living miracle. She is a living testimony.”
Riley suffers from severe lung disease and has a trach. Her doctors at first thought she’d have to until the age of three. They now say she may it removed in a few more months.