Oct. 26, 2020 -- A baby who was born weighing just 1 pound is finally home with his parents, after spending 133 days in the hospital.
Russell William Appold Jr. was born at 22 weeks -- more than 4 months before his scheduled due date. For 19 weeks, he stayed at Tulane Lakeside Hospital in Metairie, LA. But with the help of neonatal specialists and support from his family, baby Russell grew healthier and stronger. Over time, his breathing improved, he gained weight, and he started to maintain a stable body temperature on his own.
"He was so small he could fit in my hand," Russell Appold Sr. said. "But now he's a chunky baby." According to the hospital, Russell Jr. now weighs more than 7 pounds, loves to eat, and has learned to suck his thumb.
To celebrate Russell’s recovery, his doctors and nurses made him a tiny paper crown and sent him home with a mini-parade. “He proved to be a fighter who beat the odds and went home this week in a grand send off,” Tulane Lakeside said on Facebook.
About 15 million babies are born preterm -- before 37 weeks of pregnancy have been completed -- every year, the World Health Organization estimates. In 2018, preterm birth affected one of every 10 infants born in the United States.
Babies born too early have higher rates of death and disability, according to the CDC. In 2017, preterm birth and low birth weight accounted for about 17% of infant deaths.