When baby Ada was born in February 2020 at just 23 weeks, she was the size of a loaf of bread.

Fourteen months later, she weighs 19 pounds. On Monday, she went home to Poughkeepsie for the first time. Staff at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla provided video of nurses dressing and prepping Ada for the trip home.

“She has been a fighter since the second she was born at one pound, one ounce,” Ada’s mother, Laurena Mesnard, said Monday, just as the family was about to leave the hospital.

Mesnard, a teacher at Haviland Middle School in Hyde Park, told Spectrum News the past 14 months have changed her life.

What You Need To Know

  • After stays at several hospitals totaling 14 months, baby Ada Mesnard went home to Poughkeepsie

  • She was born at 23 weeks, weighing just one pound, one ounce

  • Her doctor said she is a miracle, and has shown steady progress in breathing therapy and feeding therapy

  • Ada had a twin brother who died shortly after his birth

“She’s probably one of the happiest babies I’ve ever met in my entire life,” Mesnard said. “She’s stronger and more courageous than her mom. I learn from her every single day.”

“As you’ll see, she is a miracle,” said Ada’s doctor, Dennis Davidson. Davidson said a team of professionals taught Ada how to breathe, eat and play.

After stays at other hospitals and becoming stable, Ada and her family came to Blythedale Children’s Hospital so the family could learn how to care for Ada. The main purposes of the family’s six-month stay at Blythedale, Davidson said, were therapy and education for Ada and her parents.

“She’s getting speech and feeding therapy. She’s getting developmental therapy. She’s getting physical therapy,” he explained. “She actually had a teacher assigned to her to read her books to make sure she’s on the right page in terms of her development.”

The long-anticipated moment was bittersweet. Ada had a twin who did not survive.

“My son passed away the next day on my chest,” Mesnard recalled tearfully. “It was the first time I officially met him. I was rushed out to the NICU. They couldn’t save him.”

Mesnard said she will tell Ada about her brother one day, but she will also tell Ada about the effect she had on family, friends and total strangers.

“She was very spoiled this year, with over 80 cards from the community who just loves her,” Mesnard said. “She has quite a following. She has given people hope in this very scary year.”