Kwek Yu Xuan was born almost four months prematurely in Singapore in June 2020, and was considered by doctors to have a limited chance of survival.
But the hospital that housed her for more than a year announced at the weekend that, “against the odds,” she had been discharged in July at a far healthier weight of 6.3 kilograms (13.9 pounds).
Yu Xuan was delivered by an emergency caesarean section at just under 25 weeks of gestation, Singapore’s National University Hospital said in a statement sent to CNN on Tuesday.
A full-term baby is born after about 40 weeks, and newborns typically weigh between 6 and 10 pounds.
Yu Xuan spent 13 months in the facility’s neonatal intensive care unit, and had to rely on “multiple treatments and machines” for survival, the hospital said. But they added the child was “active, cheerful and responsive” during her stay.
‘A ray of hope amid turmoil’
The facility described Yu Xuan as “a ray of hope amid turmoil,” given that the entirety of Yu Xuan’s extraordinary young life has taken place during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Against the odds, with health complications present at birth, she has inspired people around her with her perseverance and growth,” the hospital said.
She returns home with chronic lung disease and pulmonary hypertension, two conditions commonly associated with extreme prematurity, and her doctors expect her to recover in time, the hospital said.
Yu Xuan’s parents, Kwek Wee Liang and Wong Mei Ling, thanked the hospital’s staff in the statement. They had initially planned to deliver Yu Xuan in Malaysia, where their 4-year-old firstborn lives, but the child’s mother was admitted to hospital and delivered the baby after suffering from preeclampsia — high blood pressure during pregnancy — at 24 weeks and six days’ gestation.
“It was a difficult journey for Yu Xuan and we greatly appreciate the concerted effort and benevolent support from our colleagues, donors as well as the larger community who have contributed to her survival and growth,” said Zubair Amin, the head and senior consultant at the hospital’s Department of Neonatology. “This was a team effort that embodies the spirit of care and compassion.”