At less than 1 lb. —14 ounces exactly — Decklen Maize is just 10 inches, and this mini-preemie is struggling for his life. His parents are praying for a miracle as doctors at St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, Calif., try tirelessly to save the preterm baby.
Although Decklen was born four months early, James and Carrie Maize are hoping he keeps fighting on.
“Everyone's been telling us there's nothing they could do for him, that he's not passed the viability stage," Mom Carrie Maize told the NY Daily News. "But we thought if he comes out with a heartbeat and breathing, we want something done. If he's fighting, they need to fight with him and for him."
He was supposed to be born in September, but Decklen was born on Tuesday at 22 weeks, and unfortunately this is not the first preterm baby that Carrie has had. Last year, she gave birth to a baby girl at 22 weeks, but sadly, she died. Decklen is just about the size of his dad’s hand, and he is surviving with the help of a ventilator.
The Maizes had to make a quick emergency decision on the preemie when they discovered he had an umbilical cord prolapse. So, Carrie decided to undergo an emergency C-section. When James heard what was happening, he rushed back from his army base in Virginia — he said he refused to give up on his son.
If the Maizes weren’t quick thinking on their feet, the umbilical cord would have cut off Decklen’s oxygen because it had already passed through the birth canal from the baby’s head, the Daily News reported.
"Our son was more than strong enough," Carrie said. "He's handling it like a champ." While mom will be able to go home, Decklen will remain in the neonatal intensive care for many months.
Decklen is known as a micro-preemie, who are babies before 26 weeks. Their rates of survival of the years have increased with technology, but the earlier they are born, the less chance they have at surviving.
Also, in premature babies that do survive, there are many complications. They might suffer from respiratory distress syndrome, which means that they have difficulty breathing due to immaturity of the baby's lungs, anemia, apnea, increased rate of infections, and many other issues.
“If he’s a fighter, you know, we want him to fight and make his own decisions,” James said. “It’s rough…just being able to sit there at his bedside and just pretty much whisper.”