Fragile and Fierce: ‘Micro-Preemie' Released From Hospital After 5 Months

Giselle was born at just 22 weeks gestation and weighed about the same as a can of beans

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One of the world’s smallest babies born four months early and weighing just 15-ounces just cleared a major milestone with her release from a San Diego hospital.

"Micro-Preemie" Giselle was born on Nov. 17 after her mother Courtney Flores was diagnosed with Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes, Low Platelet Count (HELLP) syndrome, a life-threatening pregnancy complication and severe form of preeclampsia.

After spending the past five months inside the Sharp Mary Birch Neonatal Intensive Care Unit battling the ups and downs of surgeries and infections, Giselle received the green light to return home Tuesday.

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“It felt unreal until I got in the car and sat down and saw her back there. And then it hit me ‘oh gosh, she’s coming home’” Courtney said.

Courtney and her husband are now getting help from Courtney's mom, Angela Shirley, who hadn’t been able to visit her granddaughter for the past several months due to the precautions surrounding COVID-19.

Shirley said it has been an emotional 24 hours since welcoming Giselle home.

“All of the things she struggled with and this long journey, and she overcame all of it,” Shirley said. “It’s just a miracle.”

Giselle now weighs close to seven pounds and passed recent vision and hearing exams.

However, she still has some medical concerns.

After spending the first months of her life hooked up to machines that helped her to breathe and control her body temperature, Giselle also returns home tethered to an oxygen machine and heart monitor.

The micro-preemie has severe lung disease, which has the family taking extreme caution during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent possible exposure to the virus.

“At first we were really nervous to bring her home because of what’s going on, but figured we won’t leave the house, we’ll have people meet us outside if we have to. We have Lysol sanitizing stations, no one is coming in the house” Courtney said, “We’re a little bubble over here.”

Even before the worries about the coronavirus, doctors had advised the family to keep Giselle away from people for at least another year.

After her rushed entry into the world, the baby’s parents are now happy to wait things out. They’ve become experts in dealing with uncertainty and now they finally don't have to look far to know exactly what’s at stake.

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