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Micro-preemie born ‘on the edge of viability’ in Texas celebrates 1st birthday: ‘Quite the survivor’

The family of a micro-preemie who weighed just 1 pound, 5 ounces at birth celebrated the child’s one-year birthday on Jan. 10 after the little boy spent 155 stays in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) — defying all odds.

“He was under a pound-and-a-half and 23 weeks and two days,” Samantha Smith, a neonatal nurse practitioner at Pediatrix Neonatology of Texas and Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin, told Fox News Digital.

“So he was kind of on the edge of viability, which is about 22 weeks,” she said.

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Smith said that baby Amandi Omokore-Allen’s chance of survival, considering his age and size, was less than 10%.

Parents Tolulope Omokore and Patrick Allen were expecting twin boys last May. 

Parents Tolulope Omokore and Patrick Allen celebrate the fist birthday of their son, Amandi Omokore-Allen.
(Tolulope Omokore)

But in January 2022, at 22.5 weeks, Omokore experienced spotting — and then received the heartbreaking news that one of her babies had died in utero, she said.

Omokore learned she had experienced a complication known as premature rupture of membranes, in which the amniotic sac breaks open and slowly begins leaking.

“There were a lot of emotions,” Omokore told Fox News Digital. “The doctors told us, ‘Hey, you’re going to be here until you give birth’ — which we hoped would be May.”

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Omokore said doctors explained the difference between a “23-weeker” and a “24-weeker,” plus the difference each week makes in a baby’s development.

Amandi Omokore-Allen was born last January weighing 1 pound, 5 ounces.

Amandi Omokore-Allen was born last January weighing 1 pound, 5 ounces.
(Tolulope Omokore)

“In my mind, I’m talking to Amandi, saying, ‘Please just stay in there,’” Omokore said about her surviving son who was not yet born.

Doctors tried to delay Omokore’s labor with medication — but one week later, at only 23 weeks, Amandi was born. 

He weighed 1 pound, 5 ounces. 

“I’m thinking, I’ve just lost one – am I going to lose both of them?”

— Tolulope Omokore, mother of Amandi

Omokore also gave birth to, and was able to hold, her son Asaiah, who had died one week earlier in utero.

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“It was a very bittersweet moment,” Omokore said. 

“I was able to hold Asaiah, but they took Amandi straight from me to the incubator because, of course, every second counts. And I’m thinking, I’ve just lost one — am I going to lose both of them?”

After his birth, little Amandi Omokore-Allen spent 155 days in the NICU.

After his birth, little Amandi Omokore-Allen spent 155 days in the NICU.
(Tolulope Omokore)

Amandi remained under the care of Smith and her Pediatrix team. 

He was initially on a ventilator and had a collapsed lung, requiring a chest tube, Smith told Fox News Digital. 

Samantha Smith, neonatal nurse practitioner at Pediatrix Neonatology of Texas and Ascension Seton Medical Center, cared for baby Amandi after his Jan. 10, 2022 birth.

Samantha Smith, neonatal nurse practitioner at Pediatrix Neonatology of Texas and Ascension Seton Medical Center, cared for baby Amandi after his Jan. 10, 2022 birth.
(Pediatrix Neonatology of Texas and Ascension Seton Medical Center)

“He was relatively stable for a baby that age and size,” Smith said. 

“But we use the words ‘critically stable’ because they are such premature infants. He’s quite the survivor.”

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Amandi also had feeding intolerance that required continuous gavage feeds. He also developed pneumonia about six weeks in — and had a pulmonary hemorrhage. 

Amandi Omokore-Allen is photographed next to his mother, Tolulope, at Pediatrix Neonatology of Texas and Ascension Seton Medical Center. 

Amandi Omokore-Allen is photographed next to his mother, Tolulope, at Pediatrix Neonatology of Texas and Ascension Seton Medical Center. 
(Tolulope Omokore)

Such complications are not uncommon in babies of Amandi’s size and those born at that gestation, Smith said.

After two weeks, Omokore finally got to hold her newborn son for the first time.

Tolulope Omokore did everything she could to learn more about her son's condition and how she could best care for him, she told Fox News Digital.

Tolulope Omokore did everything she could to learn more about her son’s condition and how she could best care for him, she told Fox News Digital.
(Tolulope Omokore)

“That was amazing,” Omokore said. 

“But it was also nerve-wracking because he was intubated. They were so careful. And he loved it. I was warm and he was warm. They said skin-to-skin is so good. And I was like, ‘Wow.’”

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Each day, Amandi got a little stronger, despite some expected setbacks. 

Amandi is seen here on the left dressed in cap and gown to signify his "graduation" from the NICU, where he stayed for 155 days after his birth on Jan. 10, 2022. On the right, Amandi after he was born early at 23 weeks.

Amandi is seen here on the left dressed in cap and gown to signify his “graduation” from the NICU, where he stayed for 155 days after his birth on Jan. 10, 2022. On the right, Amandi after he was born early at 23 weeks.
(Tolulope Omokore)

Smith said Omokore’s eagerness to be part of her son’s journey — and to learn everything she could as he progressed — was key to his ability to thrive.

“She would ask questions, and she would talk to all the physicians,” Smith said. “She knew us by [our] first names and we knew her by [hers]. She was very much a part of his care at the bedside.”

Amandi was given less than a 10% chance to survive after he was born at 23 weeks on Jan. 10, 2022.

Omokore said she took notes every day and learned everything she could about Amandi’s condition. 

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As Amandi continued to improve, Omokore was able to return to her job as a sales representative for Austin-based Oracle. 

She said the company was supportive of her situation. 

Amandi takes a bite of birthday cake months after he left the NICU.

Amandi takes a bite of birthday cake months after he left the NICU.
(PC Pro Photography LLC.)

“I worked at home from eight to five,” Omokore said. “But I would go to see him right after work. Or sometimes I would leave early and take customer calls in the [hospital] lobby.”

After more than five months in the NICU, on June 14, Amandi reached all of his milestones in order to “graduate.”

“He’s quite the survivor.”

— Samantha Smith, neonatal nurse practitioner

The staff lined the hallway and cheered for Amandi and his parents as they prepared to go home.

“Everyone was clapping and crying,” Omokore said. 

“I was hugging everyone. And I was thinking about Asaiah as well.”

Amandi and his parents have since moved to Maryland. The baby now weighs 20 pounds, 15 ounces.

Amandi and his parents have since moved to Maryland. The baby now weighs 20 pounds, 15 ounces.
(Tolulope Omokore)

The family has since moved to Severn, Maryland, and one-year-old Amandi weighs 20 pounds, 15 ounces. 

He is right now crawling backwards, Omokore said.

“He’s in the 43rd percentile in weight,” Omokore said. “The pulmonologist was showing me his chart — and just to think, he started at that 1-pound mark.”

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As for Smith, she said she remembers Amandi’s fragile first two weeks of life, when everyone was watching and hoping.

Amandi poses in honor of his first birthday on Jan. 10, 2023.

Amandi poses in honor of his first birthday on Jan. 10, 2023.
(PC Pro Photography LLC.)

“He always had his eyes open,” Smith said about Amandi as a tiny patient. 

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“He always had a bright spirit. He fought. He definitely fought,” she said. 

“And it was just really something to watch,” she added. “It’s been an honor to watch that. It’s why we do what we do.”


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