By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Mantecas miracle baby turns 8
Mom opted for life of her child, both made it
From 10 days old to five months, Jaycee Rieb of Manteca fought for her life at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. - photo by Contributed by the Rieb family
Manteca’s miracle preemie is all grown up.

Jaycee Rieb, who wasn’t given much of a chance to live at birth, has not only bucked the odds but is currently a student in Michelle Swift’s first-grade class at St. Anthony’s Catholic Elementary School.

The daughter of Lenny and Teresa Rieb of Manteca, Jaycee came in at a mere 1 pound on Jan. 10, 2003.

The youngster now weighs 42 pounds and stands about 4 feet.

Jaycee – she was named in honor of her late grandfather Joseph Carmen Liberato – turned age 8 on Monday.

A birthday celebration was staged consisting of friends and family.

“She’s bright, artistic, sensitive and creative,” said her mother, Teresa. “Jaycee is also a Daisy (the girls scout-type group at St. Anthony’s).”

For family, friends, and even a community, Jaycee’s life has been a cause for a celebration.

Teresa Rieb was in the 24th week of her pregnancy when her body suddenly shut down. She was diagnosed with HELLP – or Hemolytic anemia, Elevated liver enzymes, and Lower Platelet count – syndrome, a life-threatening condition that can occur during pregnancy or after childbirth.

The mother chose the life of her child over that of her own, opting for an emergency C-section.

Jaycee was born prematurely at 1:31 a.m. at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto.

“We were both given a 5 percent chance of survival,” said Teresa Rieb, who is the office manager at the Manteca Adult School at Lindbergh School.

She was told her newborn would have a tough road ahead. Even if she lived, Rieb recalled, her daughter would likely have various health issues, including respiratory problems and even blindness.

Still, Jaycee’s chances of survival appeared slim to none.

“We had to plan her funeral within that first month,” Teresa said.

 Jaycee was moved to Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford when she was 10 days old. Insurance took care of some of the medical expenses. The community also did its part by conducting a series of fundraisers to help the family defray the cost.

The family firmly believed that many miracles took place during this difficult time.

“Miracle No. 1: Jaycee had a hole in her heart,” Teresa said. “By the time we got to Stanford (from Modesto) it had closed.”

For months, Jaycee Rieb was under the care of neonatal intensive-care unit nurses Krista Moses and Andrea Hildago at Lucille Packard.

“Krista (Moses) later told us that she didn’t think Jaycee would live when she first saw her,” said Teresa, who, along with her husband and family members, stayed nearby.

“We lived in Palo Alto,” she added.

Connie Liberato, Teresa’s mother, turned to her religious faith along with the power of prayer to help Jaycee pull through the crisis.

She was released from Lucille Packard on May 19, 2003, weighing over 5 pounds.

Over the years, Jaycee returned to the Stanford facility. It was there she had successful eye surgery.

Her health has also held up.

For that, the Rieb family is forever in debt to the community and Lucille Packard NICU.

“To this day, we’re still in touch with her nurses,” Teresa said. “We have a reunion with NICU every September.”

The family has scheduled three birthday parties this week for Manteca’s miracle baby.