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  • Mahado Ali & Mazin

Mahado Ali & Mazin

One preemie’s amazing story

Mahado Ali & Mazin

Mahado Ali and her son, Mazin,
enjoy a playful moment at home.

When serving as an interpreter, Mahado Ali would sometimes hear apprehensive parents-to-be reassure each other with the story of the Somali woman who gave birth to a 1-pound, 13-ounce baby at St. Cloud Hospital. Little did these couples know, Mahado was that mother.

Her son, Mazin Reda, has become a legend in the Somali community, not only for his size at birth, but also for the trials he overcame to become the healthy, happy 2-year-old he is today.

The pregnancy started out well. But at 25 weeks, Mahado’s water broke. When she arrived at the hospital, staff determined the baby was breach and an emergency C-section was needed. “At first I was upset,” Mahado said. “It wasn’t in my plan to give birth that day so I had come to the hospital by myself. With this being my first child, I wasn’t familiar with birthing centers or premature babies.”

When Mahado’s family arrived, they encouraged her to be strong and prepared her for her son’s death. The family hadn’t counted on Mazin’s will to live or the resources of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Cloud Hospital.

This 30-bed unit provides a highly specialized, yet intimate environment, for Minnesota’s tiniest and sickest of infants. For three months, a team of neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners and specialized nurses cared for Mazin 24/7. Mahado said staff always was “patient, calm and supportive,” welcoming calls and questions at all times of day. A web cam helped her sleep better at night, knowing she could see her son at anytime.

Extremely preterm infants now have a greater chance of survival with fewer complications due to improved prenatal care, different and gentler ventilator strategies, use of surfactant (a liquid that helps lungs mature), careful use of steroids and oxygen and earlier and more appropriate nutrition.

“Seeing these kids flourishing despite a rocky start is incredibly gratifying and reminds me every day that I have the best job on the planet,” said Neonatologist Chip Martin-Chaffee, MD.

“I want to thank the team that saved Mazin’s life and mine,” Mahado said. “Mazin’s name means ‘cloud full of rain and strength.’ I chose this name because I was going through a lot and Mazin was my strength going forward. I hope our story can be strength and inspiration to other moms with premature babies.”

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