Born at 23 weeks, little Reagan outgrows her tiny teddy

The block of butter baby

Baby Reagan Smart has finally come home after being born at 23 weeks and six days, weighing just 715 grams a little more than a standard block of butter.

Six-month-old Reagan Smart has been enjoying her first few weeks sleeping in her own cot, having spent almost her entire life in hospital.

Born just a bit bigger than a block of butter, tiny Reagan was in Palmerston North Hospital's neonatal unit with assisted breathing and constant monitoring. 

Her mother Dania Smart suffered a placental abruption in December last year, so an emergency C-section was needed. Reagan was born at 23 weeks and six days, weighing 715 grams.

Now weighing close to 3 kilograms, she is much bigger than her teddy bear, which was just about her size when she was born. 

Reagan was 715g when she was born at 23 weeks and 6 days.
Reagan was 715g when she was born at 23 weeks and 6 days.  Photo: Supplied

"Remembering that, and where she is now, it's just massive," her mother said. 

Things are now looking promising for her youngest child, who is sleeping at home with assisted breathing. 

The first night at home was particularly scary because of the lack of machines and monitors, Smart said.

"I don't think I slept, it was just so scary. She sleeps in her bassinet right next to my bed.

"It's nice, but it's definitely an adjustment having her home. 

"We always had someone there, at home we don't have that ... there's so much more that we have to do out here."

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Reagan had her first night's sleep without oxygen at hospital at the end of May, but has to be monitored at home since moving about three weeks ago. 

With developmental teams, speech and language therapists and sleep testing, Reagan's journey to health is still not over.

Being told all the things that her child should be doing by now was difficult, too, Smart said.

The teddy bear that was once bigger than tiny Reagan.
The teddy bear that was once bigger than tiny Reagan.  Photo: Stuff.co.nz

Smart has to carry around oxygen for her daughter when they go out of the house, and they have to refill it each week.

The next step will be to take her off that respiratory support. 

Reagan has also begun feeding, and it's a good sign that she hasn't lost any weight since moving home.

Baby Reagan at 6 months today.
Baby Reagan at 6 months today. Photo: Warwick Smith

"She loves her food ... she'll feed and feed and feed around six at night," her mum said. 

It was miraculous that Reagan had come through, considering both their lives were in danger when the caesarean was performed, Smart said.

"Seeing what her weight was, it's just so crazy to see how massive she is now.

"And she smiles a lot now."