September 24, 1995 in Nation/World

Tiny Baby Survives Big Odds, Was Delivered 3 Months Early ‘It’s Unbelievable That We Could Be Blessed So Much With Something So Little.’

Judith Kohler Associated Press
 

Ann Dee Jackson’s parents finally got to show off their firstborn.

Donnie Jackson held his tiny pride and joy, now weighing in at 1 pound, 13 ounces, for all the world to see Friday. Doctors say Ann Dee is the second-smallest premature infant to survive.

Delivered July 26 by Caesarean section, more than three months early, because of problems with the pregnancy, the baby girl weighed just 11.5 ounces and was 10 inches long.

Before she was delivered, Ann Dee’s chances of survival were estimated at 15 percent. When she turned out to be smaller than expected, her odds dropped to less than 1 percent, Dr. Daniel Hall said.

“Nobody talked about it,” Jackson said. “But we knew she was going to survive.”

Hall said Jackson’s strong beliefs motivated the medical staff.

“He’d already pegged her as a survivor and we had to deliver,” said Hall, medical director of the Newborn Center at Children’s Hospital.

Ann Dee was 27 weeks old when she was born, but was about the size of a 20-week-old. Doctors decided a rushed delivery was mandatory because about a third of her mother’s placenta wasn’t working properly.

Mother Jeanne Roskin admitted she was “terrified,” but drew strength from Jackson’s confidence.

The baby was fed through a drip tube the day of her birth. When she developed heart problems, doctors decided, because of her size, to treat her with drugs rather than operate.

The smallest surviving infant was born in Chicago about five years ago and was 10 ounces and 9.9 inches long, doctors said.

Ann Dee remains under care in an incubator and likely won’t go home until late November. But she’s breathing on her own after being on a respirator for six weeks.

Despite her growth, Jackson said he still can’t find clothes that fit her, dashing his hopes of dressing her, at least for now, in a Denver Broncos souvenir jersey with quarterback John Elway’s number on it.

The parents said they are eager to get Ann Dee home, but are willing to wait. They just recently have been able to hold her. The couple said the experience, though traumatic, has brought them closer together.

“It’s unbelievable that we could be blessed so much with something so little,” Jackson said.


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