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‘Little fighter’ Zaylan, born 16 weeks early, heads home from hospital

by | Aug 4, 2023

 By Right to Life UK

After a 181-day stay in hospital, baby Zaylan Reed is finally going to join his parents at home. The little boy weighed just 1lb 6oz and mum, Krysten Ribson, has said that her “little fighter” is inspiring her to train as a neonatal nurse. 

In labor at 23 weeks and 6 days

Krysten recalls going into labor when she was just 23 weeks and 6 days pregnant. When the doctors realized she was going to give birth to Zaylan four months prematurely, they warned her that he might not make it. 

Ms. Ribson had to be taken by helicopter to a specialist hospital. She said “It was scary. I just kept thinking please just get us there”. 

On arrival at the hospital, doctors managed to delay labour by two days. 

“Little fighter” makes it home

Zaylan was born at 24 weeks and 1 day, weighing only 1lb 6oz – just over 600g. He was born with a hole in his heart and retinopathy of prematurity, an eye condition that can affect premature babies. Despite needing surgery, a feeding tube, and regular supplies of oxygen, Zaylan has now made it home and is a healthy little boy.

“It was unreal having him home,” his mum said. “He’s pretty funny. He’s a grump – he gives me the side eye. He smiles and laughs all the time”. 

Mum inspired to become neonatal nurse

After her experience with Zaylan, Ms. Ribson, 22, is now studying to become a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse. NICU nurses work in a specialist setting to provide care for newborn babies who are born premature or sick. 

Improving outcomes for premature babies

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 centres 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.

Born a day after the UK abortion time limit

Born at 24 weeks and 1 day gestation, Zaylan arrived just one day after the legal limit for abortions in the UK (this limit does not apply if the unborn baby has a disability). 

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “Zaylan’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.”  

She added, “This time limit needs to be urgently reviewed and unborn babies rightly protected.” 

Categories: Premature babies