The Tiniest Baby Grows Up: Study Follows Preemie, Now in Her 20's

When Madeline Mann was born, she weighed 9.9 ounces. At the time, in 1989, she was the tiniest baby born on record and the chances of her long-term survival were slim. Twenty two years later, she's a thriving college student.

A study published in the journal of Pediatrics looked at how some of the world's smallest living babies beat the odds. Madeline was delivered by cesarean section after 27 weeks, after her mom developed dangerously high blood pressure. Immediately after her delivery, Madeline was hooked up to breathing tubes which she remained on for two months. She was treated for bleeding on her brain, and didn't get to leave the hospital with her family for four months. The odds were stacked against Madeline at birth, but two decades later she bares minimal markers of her difficult first few months.

As an honors student and psychology major at Augustana College in Illinois, she escaped any kind of mental disability sometimes linked with early severe brain bleeding. While she still suffers from the asthma she developed in her first months, the biggest stamp of her journey is her size. As an adult woman, she stands at four foot eight. Considering the ninety percent mortality rate of babies born in the U.S. weighing under a pound, it's a relatively minor side effect.

Still, her outcome is considered something of a "miracle" according to her delivery doctor, Dr. Jonathan Muraskas of Loyola University Medical Center. In an interview with ABC News, he urged that Madeline's outcome was an exception not the norm.

But at 22, Madeline says she's no different than her peers, aside from the recent attention she's gotten. "I'm the pretty normal, tough cookie, nice kinda girl," she said in an emailed statement to the Associated Press. "I have normal interests and am a normal person, which I am very lucky to have become with so many things that could have impeded that process."

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