We were allowed unprecedented access, for 48 hours, in Intermountain Medical Center’s NICU as they battled for life. Brynlie Mason was born at 1 lb 7 ounces. She was just slightly larger than a can of coke; a precious life, desperately wanted, with a future to fragile to predict.
Dr. Elizabeth O’ Brien, a neonatologist says medical science is saving lives.” As technology is changing, and our abilities change, we have been able to do more and more; and that alone is a gift but it is not a guarantee."
Amy Mason was finally able to hold her daughter after waiting for weeks; but it would be six months before Brynlie would go home.” I ran out of there, and I was like you aren't taking her back from me."
Baby Brynlie is still tiny, weighing in at just eleven pounds. She is now seven months old, but her gestational age is just four months. Still, aside from needing some help with oxygen, she's doing remarkably well. Her mother says her little body holds a giant will to survive.
“Every time I look at her I just keep picturing how she looked, and how small she was, and how big she's gotten, and it just amazes me."
Brynlie's up-hill battle is not uncommon. She was born at 27 weeks. 80-percent of babies born after 25 weeks of pregnancy will live, but one third will have serious complications; another third will have minor delays, and a third is completely healthy. Dr. O’Brien says the NICU team prepares parents for the worst, while hoping for the best. "They are precious, and a valuable life, and each baby deserve a chance."
Annaliece Teuscher is another baby given a chance. We also met her in our 48-hours in NICU. She came into the world at just over two pounds, and at eight months, her mother Mandi admits she looks more like a two month old. "We walk through the mall and people are like, oh you newborn is so cute, and then she looks up and says hi."
Despite breastfeeding, special formulas, and expensive supplements, she isn't growing as fast as her parents or her pediatrician would like. "I resigned from my position, and I am going to give it my best effort to try to fatten her up a bit."
Despite their individual struggles, these baby girls are considered tiny miracles. Mandi says she and her husband look at Annaliece in awe. "There are moments Jason and I still wonder how it's possible."
They are grateful to the team in NICU, who are equally thankful for stories like these. Dr. O’Brien says its babies like Annaliece and Brynlie that keep them going. "There's no better gift. It makes you want to come back into work the next day."
The cost of survival can be high, for example Brynlie Mason is a million dollar baby, but her parents say how you can put a price on life?