Texas baby born premature leaves hospital for first time in 2 years

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Preemie born nearly 2 years ago finally gets to go home

Nurses in the pediatric unit at Medical City Dallas filled the hospital's hallway with balloons and bubbles on Tuesday to celebrate the departure of a newborn who was leaving the hospital for the first time.

Jacob Rodriguez was born in Dallas, Texas March 2017, and weighed just two pounds, 14 ounces.

Jacob's Mom, Olga Rodriguez, said that from the moment she saw her first ultrasound, she knew a happy ending was in doubt.

"I noticed when they were doing the ultrasound, they were taking quite a bit of time," Rodriguez said.

It had taken Rodriguez and her husband years to get pregnant. But now, doctors were saying something was wrong with her sonogram.

"It's a gut wrenching feeling. 'What do you mean something's wrong with our baby?' It was scary," Rodriguez said.

It was scary that the boy she and her husband planned to name Jacob had a birth defect named omphalacele. His intestines, liver, and parts of his stomach were outside of his body.

"They did tell me the risks," Rodriguez said. "That he would die in-utero. And, of course, that broke us to pieces. We've wanted this for so long. And there's a possibility we might lose him."

Jacob was born with undeveloped lungs, and months would be needed to expand and grow the extra skin he would need to eventually close his abdomen.

Twenty-two months went by, the longest anyone at Medical City Dallas can remember for a preemie baby to finally get the chance to go home.

"I really thought I would never be able to take him out of here alive," Rodriguez said.

Nurses like Taylor Gillen watched as Rodriguez stayed by her son's side every day, fighting with him.

"She's phenomenal. I love that mom," Gillen said. "He always has the cutest little giggle. And he laughs all the time. Just has a really good outlook on life. And I hope he keeps that and does something great in his life."

Rodriguez said she's ready for Jacob to experience life outside the NICU.

"I'm just ready for him to see the world. I want him to experience that. It's a new chapter. It's a new chapter in this book of life. And I think that is one of the biggest things. I just want him to see and experience things like a normal child," Rodriguez said.
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