Baby Girl Who Weighed Just 12 Ounces at Birth Finally Goes Home After Months in the NICU

A baby girl who was born 16 weeks premature is now at home after being cared for in a Maryland NICU for nearly five months.

Read: Inspired by Her Own Son's Journey, Mom Creates Milestone Cards for Premature Babies

Tiny Ariana Cruz-Gutierrez weighed as much as three sticks of butter when she was born at just 24 weeks on March 9 at Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) in Annapolis.

At exactly 12.4 ounces, Ariana was the smallest baby AAMC has ever seen when she was welcomed by her mother, Claudia Cruz, and father, Oscar Gutierrez.

Following months of care from neonatal experts and nurses, Ariana — now 4 pounds, 15 ounces — was sent home Aug. 3 after showing positive signs of development. 

“She met all of the criteria that we would sort of look for, like any sucking, swallowing, breathing on her own," AAMC spokeswoman Arminta Plater, told 

"The tiniest baby ever born at AAMC went home today!" AAMC said in a celebratory Facebook post. "Special thanks to our amazing NICU team who took care of Ariana during her stay here, and her parents who were dedicated partners in her care."

AAMC, Maryland's second busiest hospital, delivers about 5,500 babies each year. 

Read: Fiona the Hippo Reunited With Her Parents for the First Time Since Her Premature Birth

Plater says the NICU staff was extremely pleased to send the Ariana home with her parents. 

"They were thrilled to see her finally be able to go home,” she said. 

Watch: Premature Babies Get Graduation Ceremony as They Leave N.C. Hospital