A premature baby, born at 22 weeks and 5 days, is now a healthy five-year-old. Benson Artman was born in 2017 weighing just 1lb 2oz, less than a loaf of bread.
His mother, Megan, suffered from a subchorionic hemorrhage and delivered Benson at just 22 weeks. He was considered a micro-preemie as he weighed less than 28 ounces/800 grams and was born before 26 weeks.
Megan recounts that the medical professionals did not expect him to survive for more than an hour after birth. However, the little fighter was breathing consistently with a decent heartbeat five hours after birth. Baby Benson was transferred to Hemby Children’s Hospital for treatment and responded well to the efforts of the doctors.
His mother started a Facebook page documenting Benson’s development. 17 days after his birth, baby Benson opened his eyes for the first time. At three weeks old, he was held by his mum for the first time and enjoyed 40 minutes of skin-to-skin contact.
Speaking about the first time she held her son, Megan said “He tolerated it well and was fairly stable during that time. We are looking forward to having more skin to skin as much as possible”. Afterwards, Benson was very happy and his stats looked better than before she held him.
Benson’s father got to hold him for the first time, 50 days after his birth. Megan shares “Today was a big day. Benson is 7 weeks old today, and Daddy got to hold him for the very first time!… They were both very happy. It’s been a long time coming and it was super sweet to witness”.
Benson continued to grow, weighing 4 lbs 5.5 oz three months after his birth and reaching the 5-lbs-mark 100 days after his birth. “Yesterday was a big day for our sweet boy in more ways than one. Benson reached the 5 lb milestone! Such a big deal! Baby’s getting so big and strong.”
174 days after his birth, Benson got to go home and surprised his three sisters with his arrival. His sisters knew that he was coming home but were not aware of the exact day. Mum, Megan, was ecstatic at his progress.
“We are very pleased to announce that our little tough guy graduated the NICU on Thursday!… He made honors and was top of his class. After a 174 day stay and equally as many nights without his mother, the day finally came. And our hearts are so full… we loaded up our boy, walked through that hall and out those doors. And we took our son [home]!”
“We surprised our 3 girls with his arrival…Our youngest arrived first. There was some initial hesitation, likely from the shock of seeing him but she was overjoyed to finally meet him… shortly after, Tim picked up our big girls from school… They walked in and after a few moments of telling me about their day, they noticed his swing moving in the living room…And…[he was in it]!… Their jaws dropped. Our oldest fell to her knees. Our second oldest stood there, frozen. They both had the biggest smiles.”
Benson continued to grow and progress well and celebrated his first birthday with his own little parade. Today, he is a thriving five-year-old, healthy and in kindergarten.
Improving outcomes for premature babies
A study, ‘Mortality, In-Hospital Morbidity, Care Practices, and 2-Year Outcomes for Extremely Preterm Infants in the US, 2013-2018’, by Dr Edward F Bell of the University of Iowa, found that from 2013 to 2018, with infants born between 22 and 28 weeks gestation, “survival to discharge occurred in 78.3% and was significantly improved compared with a historical rate of 76.0% among infants born in 2008-2012”.
The study, which took place between 2013 and 2018, assessed 10,877 infants born between 22 and 28 weeks gestation in 19 academic medical centers across the US.
This means that almost four out of five extremely prematurely-born babies survived and were able to be assessed at 22-26 months corrected age (22-26 months from their due date) for a number of health and functional outcomes.
Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “Baby Benson’s inspirational story is a testament to the improving outcomes for premature babies and a constant challenge to the current abortion time limit of 24 weeks in the UK.”