Little Max Do emerged from the hospital for the first time in his life this week after 11 months, and his loved ones helped mark the big moment.
Prior to his departure, he had been fighting a rare condition that kept his body from absorbing much-needed nutrients, Fox 32 reported.
Dubbed “mayor” of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), Max left amid a big celebration Monday at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois.
He was born at 31 weeks suffering from a condition known as congenital sodium diarrhea, of which there are approximately 50 known cases. He had a strong will to live and eventually took his first bites of food and first steps inside the facility.
In their first year, babies require lots of nutrients. Some of those include calcium, fat, folate, iron, protein, carbohydrates, zinc, and vitamins, according to WebMD.
“We take everything day by day, but overall, we’re really happy and grateful,” Max’s mother, Kim Nguyen, explained. “You can see Max is a really happy baby. Every time he smiles, it’s amazing. I just want to see him smile.”
The hospital’s website says it has four Level III NICUs to give seriously ill babies and premature newborns a chance to heal, adding that parents are the most important people in an infant’s life.
“The NICU team at Advocate Children’s Hospital encourages every parent to talk to, touch, and participate in the care of their infant as much as their child’s medical condition will allow,” the site reads.
After leaving the hospital, Max had meeting his sister to look forward to, as well as getting ready to party for his upcoming birthday at the end of next week.
Proud father Dan Do spoke about how everything changed over the past few months.
“Having a child in the NICU makes you slow down a little bit,” he noted. “You appreciate the small things. My favorite thing is when I’m reading to him and he looks up at me and knowing that he knows ‘this is dad. This is family.'”