VALHALLA, New York (WABC) -- November is Prematurity Awareness Month and two parents from the Bronx know firsthand how much doctors can do for premature babies, or "preemies."
Their baby was born at just 24 weeks into gestation and weighed little more than a pound.
Eyewitness News reporter Marcus Solis spoke with the family.
It was hard to tell who was happier: little Greyson Butler, his mom, or the staff at Blythedale Children's Hospital. For the first time in his 16 months, baby Greyson will be heading home.
"We're finally walking out of this door, we did the calculations, it's been 490 days inside a building," Greyson's mother Monae Harper said.
Greyson was born 4 months premature, barely weighing one pound and given just a 20 to 30% chance of survival.
"When he was born I was afraid to hold him. He was so small, he was one pound, two ounces, he was a micro preemie," Greyson's father Jeffrey Butler said.
Micro preemies often have trouble with their tiny, still developing lungs. Greyson was treated in five hospitals, underwent two surgeries, 15 blood transfusions and battled five bouts of pneumonia. His mom self-published a book about the roller coaster of emotions.
"A lot of sleepless nights, a lot of tears, a lot of prayers, a lot of cries. Overall, a lot of smiles because my son is here right now. He's a miracle baby," Harper said.
Another concern with preemies is neurological development, but doctors at Blythedale, where Greyson spent the last 9 months, say that doesn't seem to be an issue.
"I come in the morning and I know he's ok because if I tickle him, he rolls around laughing and he throws a towel over his head," said Dr. Dennis Davidson of Blythedale Children's Hospital.
Greyson now weighs 20 pounds. Doctors approved his discharge after his parents were trained to safely operate machines for his ventilator and tracheostomy. There's no doubt he's a fighter, but as his Halloween costume reflected: he's got a million-dollar smile.
"Even when I'm having a bad day, I see his little face, it changes everything," Butler said.
"He smiles, he's like the face of all faces, you would never tell he had been through anything," Harper said.
Greyson still has months of outpatient therapy ahead, and will eventually be weaned off the ventilator and have the trach removed.
His long-term prognosis is great.