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Baby who was born smaller than a shoe discharged from hospital

Health & Science

HANGZHOU: A premature baby, who was smaller than a diaper when he was born, was discharged from a hospital in east China's Zhejiang province on Friday, three months after he was born.

The baby boy was born on Nov. 18 last year, and weighed just 630 grams.

His mother, 29-year-old Tang Lihua, is a migrant worker, originally from Jiangxi Province, who works in Zhejiang. Since she and her husband got married nine years ago, she has suffered six miscarriages. Her seventh pregnancy ended after 24 weeks with a still birth.

After Tang fell pregnant for the eighth time, her doctor tried to persuade her to abort the baby as, even if the pregnancy went full term, there would be risks in delivery.

"I don't want to die with regret," Tang recalled. "I decided to make one last-ditch attempt."

She had to be extremely careful. She quit her job and was bed bound for most of her pregnancy. But, still the foetus grew very slowly.

Last November, Tang was diagnosed with serious eclampsia, which put her and her unborn baby in great danger.

"Please, take care of the baby first," she told her doctor. "I want to mother so much, at least let me give the gift of life."

Her son was delivered by c-section. He weighed the same as two big apples, and was just 35 centimeters long, a touch shorter than the foot of China's retired basketball player Yao Ming.

"It was the smallest baby I have ever seen," said Tang's doctor Zhang Ying. "His head was the same size as my fist, and his arms were as thick as a thumb. A diaper could almost cover him."

Premature babies are not unknown in China. In 2014, a 660-gram girl, Li Siyuan, was born, her body was about the length of a chopstick.

She only survived for 19 days.

About 1.8 million premature babies are born every year in China. Their organs are often not well developed, and this reduces their chance of survival.

Tang's baby boy was six weeks premature and his lungs were not developed enough so he was kept in an incubator, and feed through a drip.

However, over the past three months, he has flourished and now weighs more 2.5 kilograms.

Zhang Ying told Xinhua that the baby's nervous and cognitive systems are developing normally. "He will need to have a health check every one or two months," Zhang said.

Tang was overjoyed to hold the baby in her arms.

"I just hope that he grows up peacefully and healthily," she said.

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