NewsPinellas County


Baby born in car at 1.5 pounds celebrates special homecoming after 155 days in NICU

“She’s been a fighter since day one”
Posted at 5:52 AM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 09:31:13-05

ST. PETERBURG, Fla. — Behind every graduation is a well-earned sense of accomplishment and that's no different for 5-month-old Jamela.

She may be smaller than your average graduate, but Jamela faced a more difficult battle that most. She was born in a car as her mom, Ebone, drove herself to the hospital. She weighed one-and-a-half pounds and was nearly lifeless when she arrived at an emergency center.


“Jamela has been fighting for her life since the moment she arrived into the world,” said Laura Straub, R.N. at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.

Ebone was told it was likely her daughter would have no quality of life if she survived. When Jamela's condition started to worsen, she was flown to Johns Hopkins.


Straub helped care for Jamela since she was first admitted to Johns Hopkins. At the hospital, the tiny fighter underwent two abdominal surgeries and three brain surgeries.

“She’s been a fighter since day one,” Straub says. “A sassy sweetheart – adorable and strong.”

Jamela spent 155 days in the NICU at Johns Hopkins. Her graduation day was complete with a little cap, pink tassel and a crowd that cheered her on.

“Even if she goes Ivy League, this graduation is bigger because of all she’s accomplished to get here,” Straub said.