ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- The first birthday for Mercyhealth's small baby unit was not only special for the hospital, but also special for the unit's first patient.
Marki Miller's first child, Ryn Lea, was born at just 24 weeks into pregnancy, weighing only one pound. That's when the newly opened Mercyhealth Small Baby Unit stepped in, guiding Miller towards the proper care for her special delivery.
The Small Baby Unit specializes in the care of rare micro-preemie babies born before 27 weeks into a pregnancy. The unit features six beds in a unique environment that includes limited sound and low-lighting to simulate what a baby would experience in the womb. Mercyhealth houses the Stateline's only Small Baby Unit.
Doctors say the days and weeks immediately following birth are the most critical when it comes to development.
Miller says she's thankful for all of the nurses and doctors within the Small Baby Unit and that her daughter, Ryn Lea, continues to show major improvement since leaving the facility. To-date 34 babies have passed through the Small Baby Unit.