It's been nearly four months since the birth of a miracle that has captivated Storm Lake, and before another month passes, one of the smallest surviving babies in the region's history is expected to be coming home.
Ashlee Connie Kae Sammons was born 12-weeks premature, weighed only 1 pound, 6.9 ounces and was 11 inches long. With the help of medical technology, strength, prayers and an enormous amount of love from family and friends, Ashlee proved to be a survivor.
Her parents, Jason and Jen Sammons, have traveled the familiar roads countless times to Children's Methodist Hospital in Omaha, Neb. in the one hundred plus days since their daughter's birth. Each visit is filled with anticipation. There have been dark days, but in the last two weeks, they seem like distant memories as the child gains in weight and strength.
Smaller at birth than a Beanie Baby stuffed animal that adorned her hospital isolette, Ashlee has now blossomed to 5 pounds, 14 ounces and grown in length to 17 1/2 inches. She's got big dark eyes, a hint of strawberry blonde hair and full, healthy cheeks.
The road to where she is now has been a long, slow journey. There have been plenty of setbacks, as doctors warned the family there would be. When Ashlee was born, her body wasn't ready to survive in the outside world without the help of a ventilator. Her tiny lungs needed to develop, she needed to gain weight and it was going to take time before her own mother could even hold her.
Read the rest of this article in the 1/16 Pilot Tribune.