Baby Elayah, who was one of the smallest surviving babies at Levine Children's Hospital, turns 2 on Sept. 23, 2017.

Child Health, News | 4 years ago

The Terrific Twos: Smallest Baby Born at Levine Children’s Hospital Thrives at Second Birthday

Look who just turned 2! E'Layah Faith, the smallest baby ever born at Levine Children's Hospital. After overcoming so many challenges, she's now crawling and dancing -- and lighting up her family's life. Her pediatrician, Amanda McDowell, MD, explains what other preemie parents can expect as their babies grow. 

Two years after E’Layah Faith Pegues was born as one of the world’s smallest babies, there are so many ways to measure how much she’s grown. She’s almost three times taller. She’s more than 20 times heavier. And she’s talking, crawling and cruising, exploring her world like never before.

E’Layah still has a way to go before hitting all of the expected milestones of a 2-year-old. But considering that she was born 14 weeks early at the weight of 10 ounces, she is doing quite well, says her pediatrician, Amanda McDowell, MD, of University Pediatrics in Charlotte.

“I expect E’Layah to take a few more years before catching up with her peers,” says Dr. McDowell. “But the important thing is she continues to do more and more every day.”

That includes playing patty-cake and peek-a-boo – and dancing to all kinds of music, says her mom, Megan.

“This by far has been an amazing year, watching her grow,” says Megan. “Looking back on the pictures from last year and then looking at the ones this year, all I can say is wow!” 

Still, there are challenges. E’Layah must see an eye doctor on a regular basis. Plus, she needs physical therapy to build up her strength, occupational therapy to improve her dexterity, and speech therapy to help her eat solid foods.

It may be discouraging for parents of preemies not to see their children doing all of the things they’d want them to do, says Dr. McDowell. But it’s important to stay positive – an attitude Megan has always championed.

“The advice I have for other preemie moms is that you have to stay strong especially if you are doing it alone,” says Megan. “It's very challenging at times, but you have to remain focused on faith – faith in knowing that your child will grow and be normal.”

Even more important, discouragement should never get in the way of action, Dr. McDowell adds. If parents of preemies notice that their children have any learning difficulties, it’s best to seek out professional help as soon as possible. The earlier children get treatment, the better chance they’ll have fewer complications down the road.

Read the story about E'Layah's birth

Read the story about E'Layah's 1st birthday