By Josh Saunders
A miracle baby born the size of a ‘small doll’ who defied doctors who thought he would die, is set to go home for the first time after 545 days in hospital.
Adorable Mikey Barone, now 17-months, from Buffalo, New York, will finally be able to experience the outside world for the first time after more than 545 days in hospital.
His parents Kristine and Michael, 40 and 37, were shocked to find they had conceived naturally during a break from four and half years of fertility treatments, following a miscarriage.
But shortly at their six-month sonogram, it was discovered the mum-to-be had dangerously high blood pressure forcing her to give birth more than two months early.
Weighing a tiny 1lb 10oz, little Mikey was the size of a ‘small doll’ and so fragile that he needed breathing apparatus to keep him alive.
Doctors believed he would die and suggested removing the lifesaving equipment to let him pass peacefully, but the parents refused, determined to give their son a chance at life.
He survived and after multiple surgeries to save his life he has continued to recover but was never able to go outside for fear of infection.
Mum Kristine who knew she couldn’t leave her son alone has spent every day with Mikey, patiently waiting through two Christmases and a year-and-a-half to finally be discharged with him.
Kristine, a full-time caregiver, said: “When Mikey was born, he was the size of a very small doll, he looked so skinny with a tiny body and a big head.
“We had many meetings where Doctors told us he would have a bad quality of life because of his lungs and that he wouldn’t get very far.
“They wanted to take out his breathing tube, then hand him to me, from there he would either thrive or pass away in my arms.
“We couldn’t do that to him and instead took each day as it came, hoping for the best.
“I would love to see the doctors who were ready to give up on our little boy now, as he is now thriving.
“We are so proud of all the small steps he has made.
“I have slept in hospital every day since July 5th 2017, I just stay here taking care of Mikey and hanging out with him.
“Staying with him has given me the opportunity to learn what I needed to take care of him. It feels like this is where I am supposed to be.
“I am excited to take him for a walk when it’s warm, I think that’s what I am really looking forward to the most about getting him home.
“He knows there is a world out there but hasn’t been able to see it, feel it and be out there.”
After suffering a miscarriage and the loss of her father, Kristine and Michael decided to take a break trying to conceive.
But a surprise was in store for them.
Kristine said: “It was kind of like a miracle, my husband tried to talk me into taking a test, but it didn’t feel right after all the treatment and everything.
“But I went through it, thinking I would do it to humour him and when it came out positive, I couldn’t believe it.”
Mikey would be born nine-weeks early via emergency c-section after Kristine’s blood pressure started to reach concerning levels, as well as her liver and kidney starting to fail.
Since several surgeries to keep him alive, Mikey has not left the hospital other than being transported to a new building in the hospital.
To celebrate their second Christmas on the ward, after feeling hopeful that Mikey would be released their dreams were dashed after he needed further surgery.
To combat their sorrow over not being able to be at home, they decided to decorate the ward with a beautiful festive array of lights, tinsel and a tree.
Kristine said: “We were all ready to have him home around Christmas, then suddenly we had the emergency and were told he couldn’t leave.
“I was a bit depressed, it was disappointing, but we decided to order some lights and put them around his room. It definitely made it more special.”
The Barone family were helped by Sweet Buffalo, a site founded three-years-ago by Kimberly LaRussa, 31, who wanted to raise awareness of the family’s struggles and help them fundraise.
Kimberly said: “Mikey’s mom shared a photo with me of the Christmas tree of lights she put up in his window at the hospital.
“Although the funds are much needed to them, I also wanted to give them some hope and show them that we care.
“Mikey became a little superstar here in Buffalo after everyone had a chance to see how amazingly strong and wonderful he is.”
The parents are currently seeking donations to help cover them with their medical bills, which they estimate could be over a million dollars.
Kristine said: “I have not left the hospital since July, I’ve always said the only way I was leaving was when we were both able to leave.
“The hospital has told us they will send us a medical bill, but we have no idea what it will be.
“We are expecting it to be really high, we don’t know how much our insurance will cover but we expect the bill to be in the millions.
“There was a guy on Facebook that was in the NICU here with his kid and nowhere close to the length of time we were, and his bill was $4.8million.”
You can donate here: www.gofundme.com/help-mikey-with-his-medical-bills