In Airdrie, Scotland, an overjoyed and totally-in-love mom and dad have finally arrived home with their newborn.
This homecoming was particularly special as the three of them have spent the last 132 days in the NICU at University Hospital Wishaw. Weighing in at just 1.1 pounds, Sofia Viktoria Birina arrived at the hospital on October 2, 2020 — four months before her due date.
Weighing no more than about three bananas and being no bigger than the size of hand, Sofia was a miracle the minute she was born.
She came into the world at a mere 22 weeks and four days of gestation, and her chances of survival were 10 percent during labor and even less after birth.
“After 10 days’ bed rest, our beloved daughter Sofia made an appearance,” her mom Egija said. “She arrived in the world with the biggest scream and was crying so much. We didn’t expect she would survive, but that’s where our journey started.”
Sofia’s worried parents, Egija and Inars, stayed by her side for nearly the entirety of her first three months spent in an incubator.
“I had to wait a week to hold her for the first time because she was so fragile,” Egija said. “Once I was able to hold her, they couldn’t get her out of my hands.”
At 4 months old now, Sofia has defied more odds and defeated more obstacles than many of us will ever do.
From retinopathy of prematurity, to heart defects, to an eye disease, to stage 1 brain bleeds — not to mention countless infections — Sofia is a survivor and a warrior!
BBC / NHS Lanarkshire
After enduring seven ɓʟᴏᴏԀ тгɑпѕfᴜѕɪᴏпs, she started showing signs of respiratory distress since her lungs were still in the process of reaching their full development. Because of this, the precious little girl had to be put on a ventilator.
“I was at the hospital all the time. Some days as long as 16 hours, and my husband would come after work,” Egija explained. “I just didn’t want to leave her, especially on the many really tough days when we didn’t think Sofia would make it.”
Egija did her best to put on her bravest face for Sofia, day in and day out. But once Sofia developed enough strength to leave the incubator, Egija had “a good, happy cry.”
After being on a ventilator for many weeks, they finally tried to let her breathe all by herself. “She only lasted 20 minutes, then her heart rate dropped, and I felt like I was losing her, but the medical and nursing staff were great,” Egija said. “I nearly fainted I was so scared.”
Finally, on the sixth attempt, Sofia was able to breathe on her own without the ventilator.
After just a few more weeks, Sofia was given the green light to finally go home on February 10, 2021!
“Sofia has been doing great since we got home. She has the biggest and most beautiful smile on her face and is getting used to her new surroundings,” Egija said. “We are all loving it, including my two dogs who are very curious at this new arrival.”
While Sofia still has a range of hospital checkups ahead of her, her future is looking healthy and bright!
The chief midwife at NHS Lanarkshire, Cheryl Clark, said, “Baby Sofia is such an inspiration, and we are so happy she is now home with her family.”
As for her parents, they are overwhelmed by the care their family has received and are ecstatic to begin a normal life with their beautiful baby girl.
“To all other mummies going into such an early labor, there is hope. Never give up,” Egija said.