By Patrick B. Craine

PITTSBURGH, June 3, 2009 ( – On March 12, parents Brittany Rideout and Adam Bouchat welcomed their beautiful and extraordinarily tiny little girl, Taylor Rideout, at Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh. Born at 26 weeks gestation, Taylor was a mere 12.5 ounces or 350 grams, about the size of a pop can.

Ms. Rideout suffers from lupus, and about six weeks into the pregnancy she underwent two strokes and two seizures, says Mr. Bouchat in a video on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s website. She was hospitalized for a month. Then, two months after she was released, she was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. “Her blood pressure was sky-high and her liver was failing,” said Mr. Bouchat.

Faced with the possibility of death for both mother and child, they chose to deliver baby Taylor at 26 weeks. According to Taylor’s doctor, Dr. Jennifer Kloesz, the smallest babies they had delivered before Taylor were about 500 grams, but these babies were only 24 weeks gestation. Dr. Kloesz said that Taylor was about half the size of a normal 26-week baby.

“The reason that she’s still here and is going to survive and be discharged is that she was 26 weeks,” Dr. Kloesz said. “Her organ systems had developed more like a 26-weeker so that she was able to respond to our resuscitation.”

Dr. Kloesz said that if Taylor had not been gestated so long, they might not have made the attempt. Referring to her being 26 weeks, she said, “That’s kinda the main thing that makes her so different and why it was worth giving it a try, with her parents’ wishes,” continues Dr. Kloesz.

But Ms. Rideout urges parents facing similar difficulties never to give up, reports WXPI in Pittsburgh. “I would tell them,” she said, “don't give up on their child if they're born small or have a disease or anything. There's a God in this world, and if it's meant to be, it will be.”

Taylor is now 83 days old, and weighs 3 pounds. She has been transferred into a transitional unit for a couple weeks in preparation for leaving the hospital.

Her parents, of course, are overjoyed. “I was scared that she wasn’t going to make it, but she made it, so it’s great,” said Ms. Rideout.

They are looking forward to bringing her home, but are grateful for the care she has received. “We’re just really looking forward to the time we can bring her home. But we’re just so thankful that she’s here, though, and just getting the care and attention. So even if we can’t have her home, we feel safe that she’s here,” said Mr. Bouchat.

“Despite all she’s been through, she seems to be a very happy person,” he said.


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