COVID-19 Vaccine Updates

As of April 15, 2021, everyone in Washington age 16 and over is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Please visit our vaccine page for information on how to schedule an appointment.

< >

‘Super baby’ turns 2 next week

Posted on Nov. 17, 2017 ( comments)
Left: Brantley Smith in November 2016, shortly before turning 1. Right: Brantley in October 2017.

‘Super baby’ Brantley Smith turns 2 the day after Thanksgiving.

Brantley was dubbed ‘super baby’ because he was born at 22 weeks gestation and is the youngest preemie born at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital to survive.

He spent 141 days in the Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Tacoma General and had a slim chance of survival, according to doctors.

Today, he’s healthy, happy and always smiling, says his mom, Whitney Smith.

“He’s completely your average 2-year-old, just a little smaller,” Smith says.

Brantley no longer requires physical and speech therapy. He continues to visit several Mary Bridge specialty clinics and other providers to monitor conditions such as his chronic lung disease.

But he’s doing “phenomenal,” Smith says, and engaging in the same activities as other children his age.

Brantley Smith 2015 vs. 2017

“He’s the busiest little guy now that he can run, climb and figure things out on his own,” she says. “He’s so smart. He’s nothing short a miracle.”

Because of her experience in the NICU, Smith volunteers there regularly — a fitting role since she was called the “NICU mayor” during Brantley’s stay, participating in every NICU event and encouraging others to get involved.

“Being able to be there for other parents helps make me feel complete,” she says. “No one understands a NICU parent like another NICU parent.”

Now, she’s working on getting into nursing school.

“After our stay and leaving the NICU, it seemed as if I found my calling,” Smith says. “I watched [NICU staff] every single day come to work, never complain, work long hours and pour their hearts and souls into their jobs.

“The difference they make in people’s lives makes me want to do the same.”

Read more about Brantley

Brantley celebrates 1 year last Thanksgiving
‘Super baby’ goes home from hospital after 141 days in the NICU

Help support fragile babies

Learn more about the NICU at Tacoma General

Posted in: Stories | Tacoma

About The Author

Roxanne Cooke

Roxanne Cooke tells stories in words, photos and video.

More stories by this author
View all articles