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A miracle premature baby born at 22 weeks 'graduates' from NICU after 128 days: 'Future looks bright'

She is the smallest-ever baby born at the hospital weighing 12.4 ounces and was the size of a soda can.

A miracle premature baby born at 22 weeks 'graduates' from NICU after 128 days: 'Future looks bright'
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @saintfrancisct

A "miracle" baby born at just 22 weeks old was discharged from the hospital after 128 days in a sweet graduation ceremony. The premature baby Zahraliz Francis Angueira was the hospital's smallest baby ever, at just 12.4 ounces. She was roughly the size of a soda can when she was born four months early in February 2023 at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. Zahraliz's mother, Neyshaliz Angueira of Waterbury, was admitted on February 18 while in preterm labor.

Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay

When the infant was born she was at a high risk for major complications and had to undergo more than four months of care in the NICU. Now, weighing in at 7 pounds, 5 ounces four-month-old Zahraliz has come a long way, reports NBC Connecticut. After a trying 128-day stay, the staff at the hospital gave the little one a sweet send-off to "graduate" Zahraliz Angueira from the NICU. The bid the little one goodbye with cheers and pink balloons. "I just want to share with everyone how caring the people I met at Saint Francis were,” Neyshaliz said. “I am so grateful for the kindness and support that was given to us."

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The 19-year-old mom told TODAY that her pregnancy felt "off" from the start. "I had swollen legs, no sensation in my feet, abdominal pain and my lower back hurt, which I thought was due to a recent car accident," she shared. Zahraliz had a shortened cervix, which increases the risk of preterm labor and premature birth.

However, thanks to the incredible staff at the hospital both mother and baby came out of the ordeal stronger than ever. The young mom noted how even the name of the hospital had a special connection with her. "When I was 15, I got a tattoo of the name Francis," she said, adding that while Frances is a family name, "I always had no idea why I spelled it differently on my tattoo. I now understand that it was for my miracle workers."


Zahraliz was so small that she was called a "micro-preemie" — and a “miracle," by the hospital.  "She was palm-sized with translucent skin and eyes that were fused shut," recalled Dr. Jose Arias-Camison, the NICU director at Saint Francis Hospital. "We try our best but usually these babies don't make it out of the delivery room and into the NICU. The first three to five days are critical for these infants and difficult for their families."

"Developmentally, we will monitor her very closely but her future looks bright," added Arias-Camison. "She's doing better than we ever thought." Neyshaliz not only leaned on the support from the medical stuff but also her community and faith to get through this journey. "My baby came into this world ready to make an impact," she said. "I'm very grateful."

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