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California's tiniest baby goes home from hospital

Melinda Guido to be released from hospital
Melinda Guido, the smallest baby ever born in California, will be heading home from the hospital Friday.

She was born four months premature on Aug. 30 and weighed just more than 9 ounces, making her the second smallest in the United States and one of the world's smallest surviving babies.

Melinda was so tiny she could fit into the palm of her doctor's hand.

PHOTOS: Tiniest California baby leaves hospital

Doctors say the baby now weighs 4.5 pounds and has progressed enough to be discharged.

The decision was made to deliver Melinda by caesarian section when a problem developed with the placenta, which gives the fetus nutrition, blood and oxygen.

When a baby is that small, doctors say it is anybody's guess what will happen. There is little research about long-term survival. Doctors across the nation often let babies weighing less than 400 grams die. Melinda was just 270 grams at birth –- the size of a soda can.

She spent the first months of her life inside an incubator in the neonatal intensive care unit. A machine helped her breathe, and she got her nutrition through a feeding tube.

The hospital staff says it will keep a close eye on Melinda for the next six years. Children born extremely premature can suffer developmental delays and other problems, including blindness or deafness, according to doctors.


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Photo: Melinda Star Guido, who was born Aug. 30 four months early, is expected to be released from the hospital Friday. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

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