VALHALLA, Westchester County (WABC) -- A girl born at 23 weeks and weighing just 1 pound at birth went home for the first time Monday after 14 months at New York hospitals.
Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla said a bittersweet goodbye to Ada Mesnard, of Poughkeepsie, who beat the odds and fought to live.
She and her late twin brother, Weston, were born extremely premature in February of 2020 at Vassar Brothers Medical Center.
Tragically, Weston died hours after birth, but Ada was a survivor.
"We're going to set her up in her little crib with all the toys that she is familiar with and just talk to her, mom and dad there, and just get her comfortable," mom Laurena Mesnard said.
She weighed about as much as a loaf of bread at birth and was diagnosed with bronchopulmonary disorder and other respiratory complexities that required her to be on ventilator to breathe.
She had feeding problems that required a gastrostomy tube, hearing issues and other medical conditions.
Ada was transferred to Westchester Medical Center and then admitted to Blythedale Children's Hospital in September 2020 for intensive speech, feeding, occupational and physical therapies, and to participate in the hospital's post-acute neonatal care program to wean former preemies off ventilator dependency.
During the next six months, Ada gained weight, learned how to hold her head up, roll over, sit up, play with toys, taste/eat purees and formula, practice pre-linguistic language, and breathe on her own -- all while her parents completed Blythedale's parent education training to build confidence in bringing home their medically complex child. Ada now checks in at a very healthy 19 pounds.
"Usually you get a good idea if there's going to be something seriously wrong by 18 months," pediatrician Dr. Dennis Davidson said. "She is 14 months now, and she is a rock star."
Ada still has a tracheostomy, which will require constant attention.
"It's absolutely going to be challenging," Laurena Mesnard said. "There are so many nights when we don't have nursing still. Like tonight, we don't have nursing, and we don't have a nurse during the day."
The community support for Ada and her family has been heartwarming and continues to grow.
Ada celebrated her first birthday in February at Blythedale and her mom, a teacher at Haviland Middle School in Hyde Park, asked the community, friends and family to send birthday cards to Ada. .
They received more than 80 from throughout the Dutchess County area, New York state, Connecticut, and even Maine.
Still, despite the glorious moment in Ada's journey, the pain still lingers over the loss of Weston.
"To this day, because he should be going home too," Laurena Mesnard said.
As the 40-year-old mom heads back home with a miracle child who defied the odds, she offers this message to the many other parents who face similar circumstances -- never lose hope.
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