Smallest Preemie To Ever Survive At Nebraska Hospital Finally Goes Home After 116 Days.

Close up of a preemie baby hooked up to oxygen and sleeping. Mom's hand rests gently on him and is nearly the size of the baby.

The McClinton’s pregnancy journey has not been easy. Ashley and her husband, Buddy, have been trying to have a baby for over 11 years now. Along the way, she suffered a miscarriage — her sweet angel, Caroline Margaret. But after multiple rounds of in vitro, she found herself pregnant once more. She would go on to give birth to the smallest preemie to survive at their Nebraskan hospital, but before that, things took a scary turn.

Twenty-four weeks and two days into her pregnancy, Ashley went into labor. That’s barely over half the length of a typical pregnancy. This was, understandably, alarming for the couple.

“What went through my mind was, ‘Lord, I cannot lose another child. I cannot bury another baby,'” Ashley recalls.

John “Buddy” McClinton was born in September, weighing less than a pound. This officially made him the smallest baby born at this hospital who would go on to survive.

Meet John, the Smallest Preemie to Survive at Methodist Women’s Hospital

Close up a preemie baby, John McClinton, being held against his mom's chest. He seems to be about the size of mom's hand.

This precious little one also had medical complications, including a hole in his heart. Still, with the loving care of the medical professionals at Methodist Women’s Hospital, John grew and healed. They even sewed up his heart.

Now, after 116 days in the hospital, John is at home. He’ll still be on oxygen for a while, but he’s expected to live a healthy life. Going home was exciting for the McClinton family, of course, but there was some sadness, too.

Close up of Ashley McClinton smiling as she hold her baby, John, in her arms. John has grown. He has a pacifier in his mouth and is on oxygen.

“The day we brought him home, it was pretty bittersweet because we have formed such close relationships with all of the people that took care of him for this 116 days,” she explains. “So it was a joyful day. But also, you know, a lot of a lot of tears, too, because those people that cared for him so well have become like a second family to us.”

Ashley McClinton smiles wide as she sits on a couch and holds her swaddled baby, Joh, in her arms.

Now that Ashley and Buddy are settling into life with their newborn, they hope that their harrowing experience will help others in similar situations.

“I think our story hits people who are struggling, who have either really struggled with infertility or struggled with having lost a child, or struggled with a baby born really early,” Ashley says.

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