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One of world's tiniest babies heads home

January 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
After spending months in the ICU, one of the world's tiniest surviving babies finally went home to Granada Hills on Friday afternoon.

Melinda Star Guido was discharged from the L.A. County-USC Medical Center.

"There's no words to say, it's just a great moment, finally take her home ... finally spend the whole night with her, it's just great," said mother Haydee Ibarra.

Born nearly four months early, she weighed only 9-and-a-half ounces last August, which is less than a can of soda. Doctors warned her parents that babies born that premature often have developmental delays and can end up blind, deaf or suffering from cerebral palsy.

But so far, Melinda is beating the odds. Nearly five months old, Melinda weighs 4 pounds 11 ounces and has been growing steadily.

"This doesn't happen often. In my 30 years of doing this, this is the first baby we are sending home," said Dr. Rangasamy Ramanathan, NICU Chief at County-USC Medical Center.

But there are still hurdles to cross. Over the next few weeks, Melinda will need regular visits to Children's Hospital for vision care, after that, special attention for her lungs, and then routine pediatric check-ups and physical and occupational therapy.

But none of that seems daunting to her parents. They are simply overjoyed to be taking their daughter home and looking forward to the day they can tell her what a real star she was when she was born.

"I just feel great that she's here with us, that she did survive, that she made it through a lot," Ibarra said.

Melinda is the world's third smallest surviving baby and the second smallest in the U.S. Doctors plan to closely monitor her development until she's about six years old.