A baby born four months premature and weighing less than 11 ounces has made an incredible recovery — and now she's finally home.
Baby Watson Jean Breeden was the smallest preemie ever born at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, the hospital said. On Tuesday, her mom and dad Lacey and Wynne Breeden got to take Watson, their only child, home for the very first time.
"It was sort of a surreal feeling and overwhelming joy," Lacey Breeden, 31, told TODAY of the moment they left the hospital.
"It's been amazing," she added. "Today is the first day we spent as a family not inside the hospital. It was so great to wake up this morning and have her next to us and be able to love on her and hold her and feed her and nurture her."
Her husband agreed: "It's great having the whole family experience at home, and getting to hold her whenever you want," Wynne, also 31, told TODAY. "Basically, being able to live the normal life we all pictured when we decided to have a baby. It's a wonderful feeling."
The hospital staff said Watson's story is nothing short of miraculous. Lacey had life-threatening HELLP syndrome during her pregnancy, a rare but serious condition characterized by a rapid spike in blood pressure, and Watson was born four months before her due date, on Oct. 29, 2016. The newborn spent six months at the hospital, in an incubator and hooked up to oxygen tubes, and underwent multiple surgeries.
The Breedens, who live about 35 minutes away in Terrell, Texas, rented a house near the hospital so they could see their daughter every day.
"When you're in a NICU situation, they tell you in the beginning it's going to be a roller coaster situation," Lacey said. "But you really don't process that... for me, I hit a wall halfway through. How much more can I take? How much more can a mother take? But I think our faith got us through those dark days of not knowing whether she was going to survive. Just trying to get through an hour at a time."
For half a year, the only home Watson knew was the hospital.
"I guess you could call it a dark time for our family," Lacey said.
But this week, Watson was finally ready to go home. She now weighs close to 8 pounds.
"It's been a whole book of miracles, really," Wynne said. "It just makes you sit back and appreciate what you really have."