Baby survives three month premature birth; goes home on original due date just in time for Christmas

When Martin Huerta, Jr., was born three months premature, doctors said it would be a 50/50 chance he would survive.

Against the odds, Martin will be home in time for Christmas. After three months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Martin will be discharged on his originally planned due date - December 22, 2010.

"He's going to be our most precious gift this holiday," said his father, Martin Huerta, Sr.

Born at 24 weeks, Martin Jr. weighed only 1-pound-3-ounces at his Sept. 3 birth. Five pounds later, one heart surgery and "several death-defying incidents, later, Martin Jr.'s neonatologist Jeanette Hoenig, M.D. is ready to send this very special baby boy home for the holidays, although still on low levels of oxygen.

"For a premature baby of his age, he has done very well," Dr. Hoenig said. "One of the decisions we have to make medically is if we can get the baby off oxygen to go home and I think it will be still be some time before we can do that, but I decided he will do just as well, if not better, at home."

After 111 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Huertas are anxious to get home with Martin Jr. but are grateful for the new "family" they've made during their daily visits to the hospital.

"The nurses and doctors took care of him like he was a family member or their own son," Huerta said of the care Martin Jr. received in the NICU at Good Samaritan Hospital. "To me, they are my heroes."