Colorado parents celebrate daughter's first birthday after she was born micro preemie
Lourdes Gonzalez and Ernesto Garcia were told their daughter Emma would never make it to her first birthday.
"We couldn't come to the fact that our baby would simply pass away in our arms," Gonzalez said.
At their 20-week anatomy scan, Denver Health doctors told the couple Gonzalez was in pre-term labor and needed to be induced, but that Emma wouldn't survive.
"Our understanding was that she was not viable is what we were told, again and again, was that she would not live outside of the womb," Gonzalez said.
But the couple wouldn't give up.
"As they were telling me all this I could feel her kicking," Gonzalez said.
Eventually they were granted a transfer to University of Colorado Hospital. Doctors there induced labor, promising to at least try to save Emma's life.
"I was just praying to God, please save my baby," Gonzalez expressed, "I was induced that Sunday and she was born Monday March 28, and 2:15 p.m. weighing only one pound and 0.9 ounces."
Miraculously, Emma survived, born at just 22 weeks and one day.
"That's where our long 131-day journey began in the NICU," Gonzalez said.
Her organs were underdeveloped as Emma was placed in an incubator. It was over a month before her parents could even hold her.
"She was super fragile in the very beginning it was definitely a rollercoaster," Gonzalez said.
But on August 6, 2022, one week after her original due date, Emma came home. She is one of the youngest micro premature babies to be born in Colorado, where high altitude poses challenges to premature babies' lungs.
Today, she's a healthy baby, with no lingering effects of her premature birth.
"They always told us that she would be developmentally delayed," said Ernesto, Emma's father. "But she's been on target for everything."
The baby that no one thought would survive celebrated her first birthday with family on Tuesday.
"We just want to celebrate her life, it means a lot to us that she's here and was given the opportunity to live," Gonzalez said.
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