CHICAGO - In her 17 months on this Earth, all a suburban toddler has ever known is Chicago hospital life.
But on Wednesday, Autumn Robinson got to go home for the very first time.
"I'm very excited, I'm ready, nervous, anxious but it's been long overdue," said Autumn's mother, Tyler Robinson, before the departure.
Robinson from Lombard has been right by her daughter's side for more than 500 days in the hospital.
Doctors at Lurie Children's Hospital have watched Autumn's tremendous turn around for the last 10 months.
"She's gone from a baby who we had to take over breathing and keep her very quiet and very still for a long period of time to a baby who's acting, or a toddler, who's acting like a toddler," said Dr. Megan Lagoski, attending neonatologist at Lurie Children's Hospital.
It clearly hasn't been easy. Autumn was born at 23 weeks, weighing just 1.1 pound. Doctors gave her a 50/50 chance of survival. Her mom wasn't sure she would even live a moment.
"The doctor asked me, ‘hey if she comes out what do you want to do?’ If she comes out lifeless, pass me my baby and I'll hold her but if she come out fighting then we going to fight," said Robinson.
And fight she did, with the help of the Lurie health care team and specialists for the micro preemie's struggling lungs and heart.
But now, she's well enough to be released.
"She's rolling all over the place. She smiles, she laughs, she engages in play with mom and other people that help her, and it's been fantastic," said Dr. Lagoski.
As Autumn heads home, the constant care continues, with her mother, who's a single mom, doing much of it.
"I do have nursing but it's not 24/7 and some days I won't have none at all, so I have to figure it out. I'm very scared but I'm also ready and I've been preparing for this since she was born."
Autumn goes home with a ventilator to help her breath and a stomach tube to help her eat, but the hope is that one day she'll do both those things on her own.