SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — At two pounds and one ounce, Hadley Faith Hales is one of the tiniest people in America. It's a title her Kaysville parents hope she doesn't have to keep too long.
"She's a perfect little fighter, who is doing an awesome job growing every day," said her father, Kyle Hales.
Hadley is already almost five weeks old. She was delivered by C-section February 8, weighing just one pound, eight ounces and not quite a foot long.
She's the fifth child in the Hales family, but she won't meet her brothers and sisters for a while yet.
That's because she made her surprise entry to the world while mom and dad, Jill and Kyle, were vacationing in the Orlando area. Jill's doctor had cleared them to travel.
"I got a phone call on the golf course from Jill saying that I'm in a bad way. I need you to come back, I think I need to go to the hospital," Kyle said.
It so happened that the Hales were not far from Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies in Orlando, home to one of America's largest newborn intensive care units.
Doctors there realized quickly neither Jill nor Hadley would last if they didn't deliver quickly.
"From the time I arrived to the time the baby was born was maybe three hours," Jill recalled.
The pregnancy was always unusual. Hadley was conceived despite Jill having an intrauterine device to prevent conception. Doctors first believed she was having an ectopic pregnancy and counseled the couple to consider aborting.
"This baby wasn't supposed to be here, you know with the IUD, and we were pregnant, so we thought there's a reason," Jill said. "So we kept going, moved forward with faith that things were going to work out."
And that's exactly what happened.
"I had several people tell me you know, 'You've got to remember you've got four kids and a husband that need you," she said. "You don't think about the what-ifs too much, but as a mother you just take risks for your child no matter what. I would do it all over again."
Hadley has a long road ahead of her. The couple says her brain, heart, lungs and eyes all could have used more time in the womb.
Jill was able to hold her for the first time when Hadley was 25 days old and it took a team of people to prepare her for the event. She says a nurse insisted doctors make it happen.
"For her to be able to stand up and say, 'Look, this baby needs to be held by her mom, she needs to have a binkie, she needs to do all these regular newborn things' was huge," Jill said.
She hasn't held her since, but they can reach into the incubator and touch her.
The couple is incredibly grateful to be staying at a Ronald McDonald house very close to the hospital. The hope is that Jill and Hadley can return to Utah in June.
Until then, Kyle is flying back and forth and getting help with their other children from a large team of people.
"We've got incredible family, great neighbors, great friends, our ward, and the community in Kaysville has just been awesome," Kyle said.
You can follow the Hales' journey on Instagram. Search for "HelpForHadley."