‘Miracle’ premature baby goes home after 4 months at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 7:57 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A premature baby born in Richmond is defying the odds and astonishing doctors. Little Leilani is being called a miracle. She was born at just 22 weeks, weighing just about one pound. Now, she is finally home after four months in the NICU.

Her mother, Shantel Allmon, knew something was not right when her water broke only five and a half months into her pregnancy.

“I honestly thought I had a miscarriage in my bathroom, so I’m crying hysterically; I start to panic,” Allmon said.

She was transferred to VCU, where she gave birth to Leilani about 14-18 weeks early, weighing just over one pound.

“Scariest moment of my life, honestly,” Allmon said. “I didn’t even think it was a chance for her at 22 weeks.”

“It is very tough. There are a lot of unknowns when babies are born so prematurely. They have a lot of risk factors. Their survival isn’t guaranteed,” Dr. Joseph Khoury with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU said. “She’s amazing. She’s a miracle, and we really have to tell people.”

Dr. Khoury is one of the many who cared for Leilani for four months in the NICU, from the day she arrived to when she finally went home.

“We’ve been talking about her for the past two weeks ever since we realized oh my god, she’s going home, in-room air and feeding,” Dr. Khoury said.

After several procedures and almost three months on a ventilator, doctors and nurses in and around the NICU are ecstatic to see her home and thriving.

“She’s acting like a full-term baby, just feeding, not requiring any kind of support at all when she went home,” Dr. Khoury said.

Shantel says she is forever grateful.

“The whole time I was in there, the doctors and nurses were awesome. Her nurse Morgan would call me every other day, send pictures over to me every other day,” Allmon said. “For her to be released with just a vitamin, we’re blessed.”

Because Leilani came so early, the family is still trying to buy baby items, along with trying to figure out medical bills from her long stay in the NICU. For a link to Leilani’s GoFundMe, click here.

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