Hawaii baby born at 23 weeks is now thriving thanks to Kapiolani Medical Center

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — It is Children’s Hospitals Week, a week to raise awareness about the impact Children’s Miracle Network has on hospitals nationwide.

Children’s Miracle Network helps fund a lot of the programs, services and specialized equipment in Hawaii at Kapiolani Medical Center.

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Those services and equipment help save lives, like the life of 2-year-old Kalley-Mae, of Hilo.

Kalley-Mae is a happy and healthy two-year-old today, but her parents, Cherilyn and Kevin Yee, never thought they would see this day when she was born .

“Due to emergency C-section because my water bag was leaking, and she was breech,” said Kalley-Mae’s mom, Cherilyn.

This all happened when Cherilyn was only 23 weeks along, half a normal pregnancy.

The couple had to be medevacked from Hilo to Kapiolani Medical Center.

“And it just, you know, felt like everything was going wrong,” Cherilyn said about the terrifying moments leading up to Kalley-Mae’s birth.

Kalley-Mae was born in what doctors call “the borderline of viability,” at 23 weeks and three days

“Meaning that in some hospitals across the nation, they would not even have the ability to resuscitate her… to be able to save her life,” said Dr. Kandie George, a neonatologist at Kapiolani Medical Center.

Kapiolani’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is what saved Kalley-Mae. She was born 1 pound, 6.6 ounces.

“When she would put her hand over our finger, it didn’t even wrap around our pinky finger, it just went over the top of the nail,” said her dad, Kevin Yee.

Kalley-Mae spent six months in the NICU.

Dr. George said, Kalley-Mae survived thanks in part to top-of-the-line equipment funded by Children’s Miracle Network, like a special incubator,.

“Because of Children’s Miracle Network being able to provide the equipment that kept her life sustained for so long, so that her body could then grow and function and catch up with what was needed. That’s why she was able to go home,” Dr. George explained.

The Yee’s said those six months in the hospital were the toughest of their life, but Kalley-Mae is now thriving thanks to the care and services that Kapiolani provided.

Cherilyn Yee has some advice for other parents.

“As a mother, you want to do everything in your power to protect them and knowing that at a certain point, there’s not much you can do, but just have faith in them and stay. stay positive.”

To donate directly to Kapiolani Medical Center so it can continue helping children like Kalley-Mae, click here.

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