- Associated Press - Friday, December 16, 2016

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) - Kacie Mormance was so little when she was born May 11 that she weighed 400 grams, or 14 ounces — about the same as a can of soup.

Seven months later, she’s 10 pounds, and she’s finally ready to go home.

Kacie is the smallest premature baby ever born in the 57-year history of Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, where Mom and Dad and twin sister Naomi came to visit daily until Kacie was healthy enough to go home with them Thursday.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” said mom Randa Mormance of Hoffman Estates. “Kacie had a lot of scary moments.”

But Thursday was a day to celebrate, as doctors, nurses, therapists and other hospital staff members lined the hallway at the hospital’s main entrance and applauded to give the Mormances a proper send-off.

“It was a long journey,” said dad Chris Mormance. “There were a lot of ups and downs and a lot of late nights.”

“It couldn’t have been done without all of you,” he told the gathered hospital staffers.

Finally being able to take his daughter home, Mormance said, is “the best Christmas gift ever.”

When she was born, Kacie was a little less than half the size of her sister Naomi, who weighed 830 grams. After treatment, Naomi was well enough to go home in August.

Dr. Joel Fisher, a neonatologist who delivered Kacie and oversaw her care, said it was safer for her to be delivered in May than to stay inside the womb, because she was growing so slowly there was a risk she might not survive.

After delivery, Kacie was “critically ill,” Fisher said. She was born with premature lungs that required her to be put on a breathing machine. She battled an infection and almost needed eye surgery.

Nurses monitored her vital signs and checked oxygen settings around the clock to make sure they weren’t too high or too low.

Chris Mormance said his daughter “had the whole shebang” for medical attention.

Kacie left the hospital Thursday hooked up to oxygen, which she may no longer need by next spring, Fisher said. She may also require more tube feedings for the time being.

She is one of 257 babies who received care and went home this year from the hospital’s Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, hospital officials say. The babies are scheduled for follow-up appointments every six months until they turn 2.

“Both of the babies are thriving. They’re growing. They look very healthy,” Fisher said.

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Source: (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald, https://bit.ly/2gJPysH

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Information from: Daily Herald, https://www.dailyherald.com

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