She fits right in the palm of my hand," says Eddie Taylor, 45, cradling his 4-month-old baby daughter Amillia. Her delicate arms are no wider than her dad's thumbs. "She may be tiny, but she's perfect."

She's also a world record holder. Born last Oct. 24, after just 21 weeks and six days in her mother's womb, Amillia is the youngest premature baby to survive delivery and make it home to her parents, according to the registry of the world's tiniest babies at the University of Iowa. Conceived through IVF and delivered at Baptist Children's Hospital of Miami, Amillia measured 9½ in. long and tipped the scales at just under 10 oz.—about the weight of a large apple. "She's our miracle baby, pure and simple," says mom Sonja Taylor, 36. "She was a promise to us, God's promise. We prayed for a baby and God gave us Amillia."

The Taylors hadn't even begun planning their nursery when, after a difficult pregnancy during which Sonja bled heavily, Eddie, a road engineer, drove his wife to the hospital when she began leaking amniotic fluid on Oct. 15. "What freaked me out was when they wheeled me into a room with a warmer on, and I could see they were preparing for the baby to be born," says Sonja, a high school teacher. "I told them, I'm not having this baby now; it's way too soon." In fact, doctors were able to delay the birth nine days, until Sonja developed infections and a C-section was performed. Although they found bleeding in the baby's brain, neurological exams show, so far, no brain damage. Back at home, hooked up to oxygen to aid her weak lungs, Amillia makes faint squeaks when she's hungry. "That just tickles me, every time I hear her cry," Taylor says. "She's crying and fussing, just like a normal baby."