Baby River Was Born at 24 Weeks and Doctors Didn’t Expect Her to Survive, Now She’s Going Home

A family has shared the moment their premature baby girl left the hospital after an incredible 247 days.

After Shelby Rutledge’s water broke unexpectedly after just 22 weeks and four days of pregnancy, doctors were unsure about her baby’s chances of survival. Shelby spent 16 days in the hospital before giving birth to River at 24 weeks via emergency Caesarean section.

River weighed just 1lb 6oz, and although she was 24 weeks pregnant, her lungs were only developed at the stage of a 22-week-old baby.

Doctors told the family that River could be expected to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for up to a year.

“We were told that River might not make it in many times”, said his mother.

After only seven months, River was ready to go home

Shelby’s mother recorded the family’s departure from the hospital with a farewell from the NICU staff.

Shelby, who uploaded River’s progress on social media, said “The cheering outside the NICU after 247 days was so bittersweet. Everyone was crying – and I mean sobbing”.

“We made such a bond with the nurses, doctors, greeters, janitors, valets, everyone. The NICU was our second home, to say the least, so it was hard to say goodbye”.

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River is now deprived of oxygen at home with his two older brothers, growing and developing every day, according to his mother.

“River turned around and showed everyone exactly what he’s made of and who he is: Strong. Durable. Brave”, said Shelby

Baby River was given the middle name “Grae” after doctors told her mother that her survival was in a “grey area”.

Premature babies are having better outcomes than ever before

At 24 weeks, River was born over the current UK abortion limit. Originally set at 28 weeks, the abortion limit was lowered in 1990 to 24 weeks’ gestation in recognition of medical and technological advances that resulted in improved survival rates for babies born before 28 weeks’ gestation. .

Since then, however, further medical advances have meant that babies born under 24 weeks’ gestation are increasingly surviving.

The Gestational Time Limit Reduction amendment recognizes this new reality and proposes, for similar reasons as the last time the abortion limit was lowered, to reduce the abortion limit from 24 to 22 weeks’ gestation.

Right To Life UK Spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said, “It’s amazing to hear that baby River is doing well after an incredible 247 days in intensive care! The support NICU staff provide for very premature babies that this is inspiring and shows that with the right help, babies can survive from a very young age, even before the current UK abortion limit”.

LifeNews Note: Republished with permission from Right to Life UK.

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