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Moment premature baby leaves intensive care after nearly 250 days to ‘guard of honour’ from staff

Moment premature baby leaves intensive care after nearly 250 days to ‘guard of honour’ from staff

A family has shared the moment their daughter, who was born nearly four months early, was finally able to leave the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) after a 247-day stay.

Baby River was due to be born on 7 September 2023 but arrived in May when mother Shelby Rutledge’s water broke unexpectedly at only 22 weeks and four days pregnant.

At the time, doctors told Shelby there was a chance River would not survive if she were born so early.

After an initial 16-day stay in hospital, Shelby gave birth.

She was warned that she needed to expect River to remain in the NICU for up to a year, so decided to document her daughter’s progress.

After more than seven months in Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, the family was finally told that River was well enough to go home - and she left to a guard of honour in January.