Smallest Baby Boy a Marvel to Medical History - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Smallest Baby Boy a Marvel to Medical History

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These long summer days are often a time to spend with family. From parks to playgrounds, you'll find them all over.

But, one Fargo family in particular overcame huge hurdles for these warm memories.

Valley News Team's Hope Hanselman spent the day with them.

You may have seen Eric Whitehill chasing storms for us around the valley. But, you may not know he and his family fought the perfect storm four years ago bringing their son, Jonathon, home from the hospital.

What got them through was nothing short of a miracle.

"There isn't a book on 'okay, do this, do that," Eric Whitehill said, as he walked his family around the Red River Valley Zoo. "Even the first couple of breaths of life to getting through to being a happy, active, running-around, four-year-old."

Baby steps are what they tell us to take when the road ahead takes a turn.

"The pregnancy itself actually, I never would have guessed that we were having a problem," Carrie, his wife, said.

When that road lead Eric and Carrie Whitehill to the hospital 25 weeks into her pregnancy, the pitter patter of baby steps got them through.

"It was really all about Jonathon at the time and how I could lay in the hospital bed to make him more comfortable," she said.

Jonathon Whitehill was born weighing in at 10.9 ounces.

"He was smaller than most micro-preemies," Eric said. "They didn't even have diapers that would fit him, they used cotton balls and even those were too big."

Barely bigger than a hockey puck. His feet the size of a quarter. Jonathon's father could fit his wedding band around his arm.

The miracle that marveled doctors and nurses and two hopeful parents spent five months in the hospital.

"Before he was born, I was like no matter what we have to go through, he is coming home with us," Carrie said.

Thirty-two blood transfusions, 17 days on a ventilator, a broken leg, a blood staff infection. Doctors gave Jonathon less than a one-percent chance at survival.

"I held on to that the whole, entire time. He was coming home with us," Carrie repeated.

But, Jonathon gave them something to believe in.

"I was ecstatic. We were happy. It was pretty neat driving home knowing that he was in the car with us," Eric said of the day he brought his son home.

Tiny feet. Great leaps. Baby steps move them forward.

Jonathon was born about 17 weeks early.

There have been babies on record born as early as 22 weeks. But, at the time, Jonathon was the smallest baby boy ever to survive a premature birth.

Now, he is a happy four-year-old. Healthy enough to start preschool next year, but has to find time to fit in frequent check-ups with his doctors.

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