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Baby born premature leaves Dallas hospital 22 months later

A boy born premature and with a birth defect went home for the first time, 22 months after he was born.

DALLAS — A Texas boy born prematurely with a birth defect, who weighed slightly less than 3 pounds, went home for the first time 685 days later, WFAA reported.

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Jacob Rodriguez was born March 8, 2017, with omphalocele, a condition that caused his liver, intestines and parts of his stomach to be outside his body, the television station reported.

Jacob weighed 2 pounds, 14 ounces, and his lungs were underdeveloped. Doctors needed months to expand and grow the skin the boy would need to close his abdomen, WFAA reported.

"I really thought I would never be able to take him out of here alive," Jacob's mother, Olga Rodriguez, told KTRK.

On Tuesday, she got the chance, after spending 18 hours at the hospital each day. Nurses in the pediatric and neonatal intensive care units at Medical City Dallas lined the halls with balloons and blew bubbles as Jacob and his mother went home.

"She's phenomenal. I love that mom," pediatric intensive care nurse Taylor Gillen told WFAA. "(Jacob) always has the cutest little giggle. And he laughs all the time. (He) just has a really good outlook on life. And I hope he keeps that and does something great in his life. Which he will. I have no doubt."

"I'm just ready for him to see the world. I want him to experience that,” Olga Rodriguez told the television station. “It's a new chapter. It's a new chapter in this book of life. And I think that is one of the biggest things. I just want him to see and experience things like a normal child."