- Ellonn Smartt, 25, from Des Moines, Iowa, was due to give birth on November 6
- But her water broke on July 11, and doctors were forced to perform an emergency C-section to deliver her son, Jaden Wesley Morrow
- She was told that there was ‘a good chance’ her son ‘wouldn’t survive’ because most babies are not fully formed at 23 weeks and cannot breathe on their own
- Jaden weighs less than one pound; the average weight for a male baby born at full term is 7 pounds, 6 ounces
- However Jaden, whose father is Smartt’s boyfriend Jordan Morrow, 25, has defied doctors and is continuing to grow stronger every day
- The couple are hoping to take him home either on or just before his due date
An Iowa mother who gave birth to a 13-ounce baby boy after her water broke at 23 weeks has praised her ‘miracle’ son as he continues to fight for his life in the NICU.
Ellonn Smartt, 25, from Des Moines, was due to give birth to her son with boyfriend Jordan Morrow, 25, in November. However on July 11, five months into her pregnancy, her water suddenly broke and she was rushed to the hospital by her family, where doctors explained they needed to perform an emergency C-section.
‘They said I was going to have to deliver in the next day or two and there was a good chance he wouldn’t survive,’ Smartt told Today. ‘ That was the moment when I fell apart. I was heartbroken.’
Fighter: Iowa mother Ellonn Smartt gave birth to a 13-ounce baby boy after her water broke at just 23 weeks, and was told by doctors he would likely not survive
Proud: Ellonn, 25, and her boyfriend Jordan Morrow, also 25, have described their preemie son Jaden as a ‘little miracle’ and say that he continues to fight for his life every day
However, Smartt, who also has a three-year-old son, Elijah, was determined to remain calm in order to prevent putting any extra stress on her unborn child.
‘I knew if I panicked, the baby would pick up on that and get stressed,’ she explained. ‘I couldn’t let that happen.’
Smartt underwent a C-section and gave birth to Jaden Wesley Morrow not long after she had first been brought into the hospital.
Her son weighed just 13 ounces, which is just one ninth of the average weight of a male baby born at full term: 7 pounds, 6 ounces. Jaden was around the same size as his father’s hand when he was born.
The parents were also warned that there was a likelihood that babies born so early are often not fully formed, do not have full use of their limbs and are not able to breathe on their own.
However, despite doctors at Iowa Methodist Medical Center revealing the severe risks posed to their child, Smartt says her baby came out fighting, ‘swinging his arm and screaming at the top of his lungs’, according to KCCI.
The tough newborn also began taking breast milk immediately, and doctors have referred to his progress as ‘remarkable’.
Strong: Most babies born at 23 weeks don’t have use of their limbs and can’t breathe on their own, however Jaden came out ‘swinging his arm and screaming at the top of his lungs’
‘His arms and toes were moving and he was trying to breathe on his own,’ Smartt told Today, before adding: ‘He’s our little miracle.’
However the couple is aware that their son has many more hurdles to overcome before he is out of danger; Jaden was moved to Blank Children’s Hospital shortly after his birth, and is currently being kept in an incubator.
As a result his parents have not yet been able to hold him, although Smartt says she makes sure to visit him every day.
‘I’m so proud of him,’ she told KCCI. ‘I go in and talk to him, and I tell him that I’m proud of him every day.’
Writing on Facebook, Smartt revealed that her son had to have ’14 bloody transfusions in the first week of his life’, and she admitted that ‘some days have been a struggle’.
The proud mom says her focus is now on making sure that her son continues to fight and grow stronger each day, up until the moment that they are able to take him home – which she and Jordan are hoping will be before his official due date on November 6.
Standing guard: The tiny newborn is being kept in an incubator until he is strong enough to be moved to a crib, so the parents have not yet been able to hold him
‘For most part, Jaden is stable,’ Smartt told Today. ‘He’s on a ventilator and had a small infection, but his doctors think he looks great. He’s getting breast milk and gaining weight.’
Smartt and her family have set up a GoFundMe page to try and help raise money to pay for Jaden’s medical bills and any other expenses that the couple might incur while looking after their newborn son – and they are also using the site to update people on their son’s progress.
‘Weighing in at a whopping 13 ounces, I’m already wowing the Doctors,’ an account written from Jaden’s perspective explains.
‘I’ve heard them use terms like “amazing” and “remarkable” to describe me so far – not bad for someone under 1 pound, huh?
The account also notes that Jaden can’t wait to ‘grow big and strong so he can wrestle with his brother’ – who Smartt says was incredibly supportive throughout her unexpected labor.
According to the mother, her three-year-old son told her, ‘Everything will be fine,’ as they rushed to the hospital, with Smartt telling KCCI: ‘We think kids don’t notice these things or understand what’s going on, but he did.’