(BELO AFFILIATE) -- Nicki Moore had trouble at first believing she could finally take her baby girl home Tuesday.
Born at 9.6 ounces-just over half a pound-in January, Kenna Claire Moore, is recorded as the fourth-smallest surviving baby in the world on a registry of “The Tiniest Babies.” The registry is compiled by a pediatrics professor at the University of Iowa.
Kenna spent the first six months of her life in the neonatal intensive care unit at Presbyterian Hospital. She was first scheduled to go home in June, but complications arose. She was then set to go home last week, but was too exhausted at the time.
After confirming it was time to pick up the baby, there was a mad dash to get everything ready, and a struggle to install the car seat. Kenna finally left the hospital with her mom and dad, Sam Moore, and made it to their South Charlotte home around 2:30 p.m.
“It was just a really surreal experience because for six months, we had joked about the day that we’d get to walk through the doors,” Moore said.
On Jan. 9, Kenna was delivered by C-section 24 weeks and three days into the pregnancy – a typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks.
Her mother was diagnosed with pregnancy-induced high blood pressure at 20 weeks. A couple of weeks later, an ultrasound showed that Kenna had not been growing for about a month.
Some complications arose during her stay at the hospital, including problems with her breathing, intestines and eye development.
“From a medical standpoint, we were definitely worried that Kenna would have some issues and may not make it to the point of discharge,” said Dr. Hima Maramreddy, one of Kenna’s neonatologists. “But I don’t think that for one second the family ... ever had any doubt that she was going to do well.”
As of Tuesday, Kenna weighs about 6 pounds.
She slept through her first night home, which amazed her mom.
Kenna was napping quite nicely on Wednesday, too.
“So, she’s doing normal baby stuff,” Moore said. “She wakes up, she has a feeding, she gets her diaper changed, she goes back to sleep for a couple hours.”
Though she’s home now, Kenna is on oxygen to support her breathing, and sometimes she needs a feeding tube.
She’ll also have to see doctors regularly.
Maramreddy said that Kenna’s breathing, nutrition and development have to be monitored closely.
“On the one hand, there’s always the fear that some things could go wrong,” Nicki Moore said, “but that’s with every baby, every baby that you bring home. But I think that we’re really lucky because we have very strong support between the nurses and doctors.”
Maramreddy said the baby and her parents had a very positive impact on those who looked after Kenna at the hospital.
Some nurses carry around a photocopy of Kenna’s tiny footprints.
“Kenna’s spirit and her ability to fight and to recover was amazing,” Maramreddy said, “and it gave us a lot of hope for what we do.”