One Year Ago: Iowa miracle baby born at just 13 ounces

By Dave Andrusko

Jaden Wesley Morrow

Editor’s note. Arguably, the consistently most read stories in NRL News Today are about extreme preemies who beat incredible odds. This story from July 29, 2019, is a perfect example.

The average birth weight for male babies born at full term is 7 pounds, 6 ounces. So on it’s not surprising that when Ellonn Smartt went into labor on July 11 at just 23 weeks, doctor at Iowa Methodist Medical Center warned her that her baby might well not survive.

“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 reporter Rachel Paula Abrahamson. “That was the moment when I fell apart. I was heartbroken.”

But her three-year-old son Elijah told his mom, “Mommy, everything will be fine,” according to Laura Terrell of CBS affiliate, KCCI.

And although when Ms. Smartt gave birth via an emergency C-Section to Jaden Wesley Morrow, he weighed in at way less than one pound—13 ounces to be exact—her son came out fighting.

Smartt told KCCI “Jaden entered the world screaming and waving his arms and immediately stunned his parents and doctors,” according to Terrell. “Doctors at Blank Children’s Hospital said he is the smallest baby born at the hospital in 10 years,” she added..

“It’s overwhelming,” Smartt told Terrell. “Very overwhelming how much love you have.”

Moreover, “His arms and toes were moving and he was trying to breathe on his own,” Smartt told TODAY Parents. “He’s our little miracle.”

Jaden is now in the NICU at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. It’s anticipated he’ll be discharged on his due date—November 6.

“For most part, Jaden is stable,” Smartt told Abrahamson. “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 is “counting down the days until Jaden sleeps in his own crib,” Abrahamson reported. “I have moments where I get sad because I want him home with me,” she said. “But I am staying positive for Jaden.”

A GoFundMe page has been created for the family.

An update in the voice of little Jaden reads,

“Weighing in at a whopping 13 ounces, I’m already wowing the Doctors. I’ve heard them use terms like ‘amazing’ and ‘remarkable’ to describe me so far – not bad for someone under 1 pound, huh? My parents and my grandma are going to use this site to let you know how I’m coming along in the NICU.”