A two-year-old girl who has spent her entire life in the hospital after being born prematurely with health issues in December 2018 has finally been discharged to live at home with her family.
Adelynn Smith, or Addy, was born via C-section at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns in San Diego on December 10, 2019, at just 27 weeks and four days gestation.
She spent the next 848 days hospitalized, during which time she coded multiple times, had to be resuscitated, and was kept on breathing machines and heavy medications as doctors fought to keep her alive.
But on April 5, Addy’s parents, parents, Aliesha, 35, and Chris Smith, 36, finally got to bring her home — where she has gotten to spend time with her six-month-old baby brother.
A two-year-old girl who has spent her entire life in the hospital after being born prematurely with health issues in December 2018 has finally been discharged
The Smiths struggled with infertility for years and had been told they wouldn’t be able to have children — so when they finally got pregnant with Addy, they were thrilled.
But while she was still in her mother’s womb, Addy was diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), a condition in which a fetus doesn’t grow at a normal rate. It leads to lower weight at birth, which can be linked to other health issues.
Yet even knowing they had a tough road ahead, the Smiths had no question about continuing the pregnancy they wanted so badly.
‘We had tried so long. It was never ever on the table, never an option to not see things through with her and not give her a chance,’ Chris told Good Morning America.
The couple was informed by doctors about what difficulties their baby would face throughout her life, but decided, ‘This is what was meant to be.’
In December 2019, Addy was born weighing under one pound. She also had underdeveloped lungs and needed a ventilator to breathe.
Adelynn Smith, or Addy, was born via C-section at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns in San Diego on December 10, 2019, at just 27 weeks and four days gestation
She spent the next 848 hospitalized, during which time she was kept on breathing machines and heavy medications as doctors fought to keep her alive
She was eventually moved to a CPAP machine, but at three months old, she stopped breathing entirely.
‘The doctors did not think she was going to make it and we were getting ready to say our goodbyes,’ Aliesha said.
Doctors spent an hour working to resuscitate her, and ultimately transferred her from Sharp Mary Birch to Rady Children’s Hospital, where she was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit in March 2020.
She coded twice in her first two days there.
Meanwhile, COVID had begun sweeping the US, and new hospital rules restricted visitors, an added stress for the anxious parents.
The couple moved into an RV, which they parked nearby on the street, allowing them to switch back and forth easily and ensure one parent was always by Addy’s side.
Eventually, they moved into the Ronald McDonald House across the street.
‘We spent a year not knowing if she was going make it to the next day,’ her mom said
Addy continued to be treated, but developed chronic lung disease and had trouble breathing on her own.
She would have ‘episodes’ in which breathing was particularly difficult, and she would get agitated. This could happen up to 10 times a day for a week straight.
Doctors had to give her ‘heavy amounts of sedation’ and a paralyzing medication to relax her, with little Addy spending months on paralytic drugs
‘We spent a year not knowing if she was going make it to the next day,’ Aliesha told KPBS.
Later, they had to wean her off all of that medication.
Addy’s doctors included Dr. Sandeep Khanna, a pediatric intensivist and the medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Rady Children’s Hospital. Dr. Khanna told the couple that their daughter might be in the hospital for years, even decades — but the Smiths insisted they continue to do whatever they could to treat her.
‘We always knew what the end goal was, which was to get her home,’ Aliesha told GMA. ‘And we always made an agreement, Addy is going to tell us when she’s not ready.’
On April 5, Addy’s parents, parents, Aliesha, 35, and Chris Smith, 36, finally got to bring her home
The couple has since welcomed a six-month-old son, Aiden (pictured in his mother’s arms)
She said that they prayed that God would give them a sign if they needed to stop treatment.
Meanwhile, as Addy was treated with machines, drugs, and physical therapy, the Smiths welcomed a son, Aiden, last year.
‘Our son, who is six months, we haven’t been able to spend as much time with him as we would obviously had liked to because we were here with Addy and we had to prioritize all that,’ Aliesha said.
That’s changing since Addy came home two weeks ago.
Though she is still on a ventilator, she is still on a ventilator, she’s fitting right in at home and is bonding with her baby brother.
‘It’s been miracle after miracle with her,’ Chris said. ‘We’re both so excited to see where she goes and what she can do. And I know she’s always going to continue to blow us away and surprise us.’
‘She gave everyone a kind of run for their money, but she held out and she’s the sweetest little thing in the whole world,’ Aliesha added to KPBS.
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