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Big Dreams, Tiny Beginnings

Born weighling less than a soda bottle at a hospital in Marshall, a skilled team from University of Missouri Health Care helped preemie Clara Smith win her fight for survival.

Diana Smith, thrilled to be expecting her first child, wasn’t feeling well when she was five months along.

“I just felt off somehow, like maybe I was getting the flu or something,” she said.

Diana called her local obstetrician and met her doctor at Fitzgibbon Hospital in Marshall, Mo., at 7:30 a.m. the next day. The doctor gave the Smiths shocking news: Diana was already fully dilated to 10 centimeters. She was going to have her baby that day, four months early. There was no stopping it.

Clara Frances Smith was born at 9:19 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2001, weighing 1 lb. 1 oz., not even the size of a soda bottle. “I was oddly calm,” Diana said. “I remember she was so tiny and fragile that they didn’t have any of the equipment they needed to help her. I asked if she would survive and they said, ‘We’ll do all we can.’”

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