METAIRIE, La. — A baby who was born prematurely at 22 weeks finally got to go home this month after more than four months at a Louisiana hospital.
Russell Appold Jr. was born May 22, weighing only 1 pound.
But over the course of 133 days, medical professionals in the neonatal intensive care unit helped Russell grow stronger each day.
“If it wasn’t for them and God, I don’t think he would be here,” Williams told “GMA.” “They are so sweet and became our family.”
Williams, who has two other children, told GMA she was pregnant three times before she became pregnant with Russell. In all three of the previous pregnancies, the babies had no heartbeat.
She didn’t know if her pregnancy with Russell would go well.
At 15 weeks pregnant, Williams' cervix started to open up. An emergency surgery stopped her from going into labor.
When she went into labor again seven weeks later, Williams said she and her fiancé began crying and praying.
The baby, originally scheduled to be born Sept. 22, was born May 22.
Medical staff administered breathing tubes, treated his jaundice, tended to excess blood on his brain and worked through a number of other situations.
Tulane neonatologist Lisa Barbiero said Russell’s case was “extremely powerful and humbling" for the whole staff.
“As he grows, we will tell him stories of the dedicated nurses and doctors and staff members at Tulane Lakeside Hospital who helped a 22-week-old baby get to the point of coming home,” Williams wrote in a card to Russell’s medical team.
On Oct. 1, weighing more than eight pounds, Russell went home with his family.
“He was so small he could fit in my hand,” Russell Appold Sr. said. “But now he’s a chunky baby.”
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