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For mother, baby, Thanksgiving’s time to go home

Condition kept baby in hospital

Cambridge mother Mary Doyle held her daughter, Grace, who weighed just 1 pound 8 ounces when she was born. Cambridge mother Mary Doyle held her daughter, Grace, who weighed just 1 pound 8 ounces when she was born. (John Ellement/ Globe Staff)
By John R. Ellement
Globe Staff / November 26, 2009

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A Cambridge mother brought her daughter home for the first time yesterday, 141 days after she was born at a Boston hospital, where the baby weighed just 1 pound 8 ounces.

And Grace Danielle’s homeward journey began after she and her mother had spent the last 36 days at the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton, where the infant learned how to breathe on her own with her mother by her side.

As she prepared to leave the hospital yesterday, Mary Doyle collected a stuffed bear and a hug from hospital staff member Marybeth Rosa.

“Look. it’s her size!’’ Doyle joked while holding her now thriving daughter in the crook of her left arm.

Rosa told Doyle: “It’s something to remember us by. We’re going to miss you guys.’’

Doyle said thank you with the hug and later praised the staff. “They are very good at their jobs here,’’ said Doyle, 41, who is celebrating the birth of her first child.

According to the hospital and the mother, Doyle developed preeclampsia during the first 28 weeks of her pregnancy.

Reacting to the problem with Doyle’s blood pressure, doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston stabilized Doyle’s health and safely delivered Grace on July 7.

“They were wonderful, too,’’ Doyle said of the staff at Brigham and Women’s. “They saved her. They actually saved both of us.’’

Her daughter was so tiny, Doyle said, that her first baby bottle looked like a toy made for a doll.

But then her daughter gripped the bottle with both hands.

“She put her little hands together, and it looked like she was saying grace,’’ Doyle recalled with a smile. “And then we fed her with her first little bottle. It was great.’’

Grace spent the first several weeks in neonatal intensive care before she was shifted in October to the Franciscan facility where she stayed until yesterday.

Doyle has spent the past 36 nights sleeping on a foldaway bed in her daughter’s room while her husband, who asked that his name not be published, tackled dayside duties.

Deanna Dwyer, the marketing manager for the hospital, said Grace and other preemies are given care in the pulmonary rehabilitation program.

“It really helps those babies to get started the way they need to - to get home,’’ Dwyer said.

While the infant will be attending her first Thanksgiving, Grace will not be having turkey for dinner.

“No,’’ Doyle said with a laugh. “But we will be take a picture of her next to the turkey. It’s 20 pounds, so she will be like a little peanut next to it.’’