MIAMI (CBSMiami) — November is National Prematurity Awareness Month.
Each year, roughly 10-percent of babies are born too soon.
That was the case for little Deion Jesus Charles at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Now two and a half months old, Deion is home for Thanksgiving.
Deion was born premature – just two tiny pounds.
His mother, Jasmine Sterlin, was only 26 weeks pregnant when doctors told her she had to deliver right away.
“When they told me they were going to deliver. I was scared. Really scared. Kind of lost hope,” Sterlin said. “I was like, ‘What’s going to happen with the baby? What’s going to happen with me?’Everything was happening fast.”
Sterlin’s blood pressure was way too high.
She had developed pre-eclampsia, and her life and the life of her then unborn baby were at-risk.
“He had a 60% chance of survival,” Sterlin recalled of those first few scary days. “It really frightened me. I’ve never experienced anything like that.”
A month went by before Jasmine could even carry her son.
But each day, Deion got stronger and healthier and a holiday wish was born.
“I asked, praying on it. I hope he comes for Thanksgiving. I consider it my early Christmas gift,” Sterlin said.
The doctors said he will need to be monitored, and infection is a concern, but his prognosis is good.
“As much as we love him, and would love to keep him, we know his family wants him more,” said Dr. Maria Peinado. “We always make an extra effort for the holidays, but he’s ready to go.”
On Tuesday, nurses dressed Deion in the NICU one last time.
His parents placed him in his car seat, and walked out of the hospital with another reason to be grateful this Thanksgiving.
“He’s a fighter,” Sterlin said. “I’m proud of him.”