McKenzie’s A Big Miracle In A Small Body

SPOKANE — He weighed less than a pound when he was born, the youngest premature baby to make it out of Sacred Heart Medical Center’s neo-natal intensive care unit alive.  This week, McKenzie Turner will reach an important milestone.

He actually spent more time at Sacred Heart than he did growing inside his mom.  It’s hard to even wrap your mind around how small McKenzie was.  He was 12.3 ounces, about the size of a coke can when he was born.

“Basically, they told me he would be a vegetable if I chose to keep him alive,” says Richelle Turner, McKenzie’s mother.

They were wrong.  McKenzie Turner is 15 pounds today, but almost one year ago, he was born weighing about three quarters of a pound.

“Nothing in your life prepares you to see a baby on the outside looking like that he was transparent,” Richelle says.  “He was the color of a Red Hot candy.”

Little McKenzie was so tiny, his hands were too small to grasp his mother’s finger.  His bones were so frail they broke when nurses changed his diapers. And his eyes were fused at birth.

“Most moms right away get to hold their baby and they take it for granted,” says Richelle.  “I had to wait three months.”

Things looked so dire at first, the hospital had a professional photographer take pictures of McKenzie as part of a program they run so that parents of dying children can have pictures of their baby.  But defying all odds, McKenzie became a first.

“There’s science and then there’s god,” Richelle says.  “He’s the smallest baby to survive the Sacred Heart NICU.”

His bravery and determination is something that’s brought the whole family together.

“We said, he knows there’s a reason to stay,” Richelle says.

“I can be tired and cranky, and he smiles and I feel so good the rest of the day,” says Vivian Turner, McKenzie’s great-grandmother.

He’s little miracle that continues to getting bigger every day.

“He’s healthy and growing” says Richelle, “and he’s alive.”

McKenzie is about five pounds under what a normal one year old weighs and developed mentally he’s at the level of an eight-month-old.  But if he was born on his due date, he would be eight-months-old right now.