Sacramento preemie, born weighing barely 1 pound, defies all odds

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By Rina Nakano

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Leni Sinipata was the size of his mother's palm when he was born.

He was born on May 9, four-and-a-half months premature, in the bathroom of his mother's Natomas home.

"I was too scared to grab him, because I didn't imagine my baby to be blue and purple," new mom Chastity Sinipata said.

Panicked, Sinipata's family called 911. Minutes later, paramedics from the Sacramento Fire Department rushed in. They were Sinipata's knights in shining armor.

"All you see are these huge, handsome fire fighters, coming up. They grabbed my baby. Cut my umbilical cord, wrapped him, and they said they'd meet me at the hospital," she said.

Leni was one pound, 4.5 ounces. He was the smallest baby the Sutter NICU had ever seen. The chances he would survive were slim.

"Most preemies, it's like a roller coaster when they're here. They have their good days, they have their bad days," Sutter nurse Shanee Euren said.

It was very emotional for Sinipata.

"You see your kid in tubes and everything," she told FOX40. "It's hard."

But since day one, Leni has been a fighter.

For the last four months, Sinipata commuted to the hospital every single day, talking to her baby through an incubator, and seeing him grow bigger and healthier. Monday afternoon, the family got a surprise visit.

Leni and his family got to meet one of the paramedics who helped save his life.

"You guys did a really good job," David Robinson, one of the paramedics on that May 9 call, told the Sinipata family.

Not only were the paramedics able to get to the house in record time, they were also able to give him excellent care -- and that's how Leni got to the hospital in no time.

The seamless transition from home to hospital is what NICU doctors say saved Leni's life.

Now at 6 pounds, 4 ounces, Leni isn't out to the woods just yet. He's still hooked to an oxygen tank and doctors will still need to monitor him for several years, but Leni is getting ready to go home.

"Seeing my child overcome so many obstacles, that made me a better mom, a stronger person," Sinipata said. "Maybe he'll be a firefighter someday."