A grateful mother is sharing remarkable photos of her baby son after being in a neonatal unit for 81 days. Little baby Markcus Cropper was born premature at 23 weeks, weighing in at 1 pound 10 ounces and measuring just 7.8 inches.
The amazing photos show the baby was so small he had to be transported to an incubator in a plastic bag, which was the size of a pencil case.
Now five months old, his relieved mother Christina Hahn posted a picture of little Markcus, weighing 12 pounds.
“It was so so scary giving birth and then asking 'is he dead?' He was just so so small,” the 27-year-old mother from Chincoteague Island, Virginia said, as reported by news service SWNS.
“At lots of points we both thought that we would lose him and he pulled through — it was a miracle.”
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the average length of pregnancy is 38 weeks. When Hahn’s water broke at 23 weeks, she and the baby’s father, Markcus Sr., were warned by doctors the newborn may not survive.
"It was weird seeing him in the bag, but it kept him from getting hypothermia. That was only a short time until he was put in an incubator cot," the mom said.
"Markcus then needed lots of steroid shots for his lungs to work properly because they were so underdeveloped."
When Hanh’s water broke, doctors at her local hospital in Chincoteague said they could not admit her until she was 24 weeks. Luckily, a special neonatal facility two hours away was able to take the mother.
Markcus was born and cared for at Norfolk's Children's Hospital of The Kings Daughter.
NIH data shows survival rates for premature babies have increased to 65 percent, but Christina recalled "two days before I gave birth the neonatal team told me due to the age of gestation it was only 50 percent survival rates outside the womb for Markcus."
Fortunately, Markcus is healthy besides a potential hearing problem in the right ear.
The proud mother said "Markcus is adorable, I am so proud of him. He's my little fighter."