Little miracle makes big strides

Published: Aug. 3, 2007 at 12:12 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2007 at 10:52 AM CDT
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Haleigh, Photo: Shadrick's
Haleigh, Photo: Shadrick's

Reporter: Shannon Samson
New Media Producer: Rachel Beavin

On July 6th, Jeremy and Angie Norman of Owensville, Indiana became the parents of a baby girl named Summer Rae who weighed just 8.6 ounces, about the size of a candy bar.

According to a University of Iowa database, that makes her the smallest baby ever to survive a premature birth in the world.

Amazingly, another Tri-State child is on that list.

Number 14 is Haleigh Shadrick of Evansville. She's 7 now and has come quite a long way from those uncertain early days.

At 7 years old, Haleigh Shadrick is now a big sister to Alexis and baby Jenna.

Haleigh's mom, Leslie Shadrick, says Haleigh loves her little sisters, "She always wants to hold the baby and give her kisses on top of the head."

The two younger sisters give something back. Because of them, Leslie says Haleigh interacts with people better than before, "She would have not even looked at you or paid much attention to the fact that somebody else was in the room. Now she loves to meet other people. You know strangers, there is no such thing."

Born three months prematurely, Haleigh weighed in at only 10.9 ounces. She spent months in intensive care and would end up with mild cerebral palsy, mild hearing loss, pervasive developmental disorder and a feeding disorder that would delay her growth.

Leslie says Haleigh has come so far, "These feeding issues and a little bit of speech delay, that's nothing compared to where we could have been with her."

Leslie says her and her husband Randall know how the parents of the new preemie at St. Mary's must be feeling,"I just pray that everything works out for the baby and the parents. It's a long hard road, but it's worth it."

The Shadricks hope Haleigh can serve as a symbol of hope. Leslie says Haleigh has reached milestones no one ever thought she would those first few months, "Every day is something new and I look forward to the day that I get to say, 'yay, no more therapy,' but if that doesn't happen that's ok too."

Because Haleigh started out as a miracle and continues to be a blessing. As for Summer Norman, the current world's smallest preemie, one month after her birth, her weight is up to 15.1 ounces. Her mom says her health continues to improve in the neo-natal intensive care unit at St. Mary's.