Miracle baby Kaio, born at 24 weeks, meets big sister & goes home from hospital
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IDAHO FALLS — Kaio Doxey’s story has been called miraculous.
The tiny baby boy, born 16 weeks before he was due, measured less than 11 inches and weighed 435 grams — a little more than a can of soda.
His eyes were sealed shut. His skin was red and shiny. His mother, Jessica Doxey, says he looked more like an alien than an infant.
But over the past four months, Kaio has defied the odds and on Nov. 13, two weeks after his original due date, the now 7.5 pound infant finally met his big sister and went home from Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
“I don’t even know if I really believe it,” Jessica Doxey says minutes before walking out of the hospital. “I’m just excited to go home and finally have a normal life – whatever it may be.”
Jessica and her husband, Kaio Doxey Sr., have spent hundreds of hours in the NICU since July 7 – watching, holding, rocking and loving their son. They often wondered if he would ever be healthy enough to leave.
“I was like, ‘Oh, he’s going to be in here until he’s 18. I’m going to send him off to college and that’s just going to be his life,'” Kaio Sr. says with a laugh. “I’ve been legitimately worried about my son surviving but right now he’s really healthy and we want to keep him that way.”
EastIdahoNews.com first introduced the world to Kaio in August – days after he had received his first bath in his isolette. Since then, he’s had a few blood transfusions and eye surgery but other than that, things have been relatively smooth.
“We’ve had a really unremarkable course which is remarkable,” says EIRMC neonatologist Dr. Wyc Cheatham. “He is leaving with a tube to help him feed and some oxygen but parents can do all that at home.”
If everything goes as planned, Kaio should be off the oxygen and feeding tubes within a few months. He will continue to see doctors regularly until he turns two and then his health should be similar to other children.
“By no means is it going to be the easiest thing in the world but I think that we’re ready,” Kaio Sr. says.
The Doxeys say it’s somewhat bittersweet leaving the hospital because the doctors and nurses have helped their family so much over the last four months.
“I’m going to miss everybody because they’re really friends and family now,” Jessica says as she helps Kaio Sr. pack up their belongings and places baby Kaio in a carseat for the first time.
They walk into the lobby of the NICU and Kaio’s 2-year-old sister, Stella, is waiting with their grandmother. The older sibling hasn’t met her brother yet as children aren’t allowed in the NICU to reduce the risk of illness.
“Baby Kaio!” Stella says excitedly as she sees him and points to his toes and fingers.
The family, together for the first time, walks out of the hospital doors. They get into their truck and drive home – ready for their future.
“I don’t see any reason why he can’t be state cross country champ and valedictorian at the same time,” Cheatham says. “That would be my hope.”
Kaio Sr. adds, “It’s going to be great to have our family back together again.”
Jessica Doxey had a sign she kept near Kaio’s bed as his progress improved. She often changed the words and she says it was a bright spot that helped distract from some of the less pleasant parts of hospital life. She has started a GoFundMe account to raise money that will be used to purchase similar signs that will remain permanently in the NICU. Click here for more information.