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Hospital has graduation ceremony for baby who spent 135 days in NICU

Hartley Moon weighed just 1 pound, 4 ounces at birth.
/ Source: TODAY

Taylor Moon was 23 weeks along in her pregnancy when she gave birth to her daughter, Hartley.

The little girl, who wasn’t due until August, weighed just 1pound, 4 ounces, and couldn't breathe on her own when she arrived at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health North in Carmel, Indiana.

“I wasn’t sure we would ever get to take Hartley home,” Moon, a postpartum nurse, told TODAY Parents. “A doctor told us she might not make it.”

But four months later, Hartley is thriving.

Hartley Moon graduated from the NICU after an 134 day stay.
Hartley Moon graduated from the NICU after an 134 day stay.Riley Children's Health

On Wednesday, after a 135 day stay, Hartley graduated from the NICU — clad in a Build-A-Bear Workshop cap and gown.

She now weighs 8 pounds, 6 ounces and eats like a champ.

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“We know things could have ended a lot differently,” Moon, 26, revealed. “I had this overwhelming feeling of gratitude for everybody there to walk out with a healthy baby. They were on this journey with us."

Hartley with her parents Taylor and Spencer Moon.
Hartley with her parents Taylor and Spencer Moon.Riley Children's Health
Riley Children's Health

It was also an emotional moment for the NICU staff, who lined the halls to watch the special ceremony.

“I am so proud of Hartley,” registered nurse Carly Bailey, told TODAY Parents. “She was a fighter from the first day. That was one thing that never wavered. I have no doubt she will thrive."

Moon and her husband, Spencer, love the sight of Hartley's bassinet in their bedroom.

“Yesterday we took her for a walk around the neighborhood and gave her her first bath in the sink," Moon gushed. "Having her at arms length while we were sleeping was just incredible."