Born at just 21 weeks’ gestation, Jemarius Jachin Harbor, Jr. has been discharged from Emory Decatur Hospital in Georgia and is heading home as the youngest-ever surviving premature baby.
When Jemarius’ parents, Jessica McPherson and Jemarius Harbor, Sr., came to the hospital in premature labor last December, they remember telling hospital officials that despite the odds, they wanted them to “try.”
“I just want you to try. As long as you try, that’s all that matters to me. Don’t just up and say that you can’t do it. Just ‘cause you haven’t done it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”
Now, hospital officials have done what “can’t be done,” as Jemarius has graduated from the NICU, into the world.
Jemarius’ survival eclipses the previous record for the youngest surviving “preemie” by four days. Lyla Stensrud was born six years ago at just 21 weeks and four days. Examples like Jemarius and Lyla reaffirm the conclusions drawn by a 2016 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics that found when provided active rather than palliative care, over 70% of babies can survive a premature birth.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise money for the Harbor family as they leave the NICU and begin life at home with their new son.