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Preemie: Baby born the size of a soda can 'a fighter,' parents say

December 16, 2011 |  7:32 am

Baby Melinda Guido and mother

Melinda Guido was born four months premature at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center on Aug. 30. She weighed just over 9 ounces —the smallest baby ever born in California and the second smallest in the United States.

On Thursday, her parents talked about the ordeal.

To her parents, Haydee Ibarra, 22, and Yovani Guido, 24, Melinda is a miracle baby and Guido said he has faith in her. He sees the day when he can take her to the park.

"She's a fighter," Guido said. "No doubt about that. She's a fighter."

Melinda was just 270 grams at birth--the size of a soda can.

"It was scary," Ibarra told reporters Thursday outside the hospital. "Everybody was telling me the same thing: that she wasn't going to be able to make it, that she was too tiny.

For two months, she was too sick for her parents to hold her.

When Guido finally did, he was extremely nervous. She was so delicate, he recalled, that he worried about accidentally fracturing her bones. "When you lift her up, you don't want to lift her up in the wrong way," he said.

Ibarra said she was just happy. "There are no words to be said — it was just love," she said.

Doctors say they are "cautiously optimistic" about Melinda's prospects, after medical tests showed that she was developing normally. But it is too early to tell. Doctors will monitor her condition for six years.

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-- Anna Gorman

Photo: Melinda Guido is fed while mother Haydee Ibarra holds her. Melinda now weighs more than four pounds. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times / December 15, 2011)

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