Little Ruby Silva spent her first birthday in the hospital, but it wasn’t because she was sick.
The 1-year-old and her North Texas family joined hospital staff for a giant birthday celebration after she overcame the odds and survived her very premature birth, NBC DFW News 5 reports.
When Ruby was born at the Methodist Richardson Medical Center on March 22, 2015, doctors did not think she would live long. She was born four and a half months premature after just 22 weeks in her mother’s womb, according to the report.
Dr. Lilian St. John, a neonatologist at the hospital, said she gave Ruby a less than 5 percent chance of survival at birth.
“However, her parents still wanted everything to be done for her,” St. John said.
Soon St. John and the other medical staff saw how strongly Ruby was fighting to survive. The tiny little girl spent five months in the neonatal intensive care unit before finally going home, the report states.
Father David Silva said the family’s journey has been difficult, but they are hopeful. Ruby now weighs 16 pounds and is doing well, the family said.
“But at the end of the day, at the end of the road, there is a light and we’re seeing the light now,” Silva said.
“Every day I feel special because God did a lot on her, and she’s doing really good because God is holding her,” her mother, Mirna Contreras, added.
More very premature babies like Ruby are surviving outside the womb because of modern medical technology. In 2012, a little boy named Micah Pickering also was born after just 22 weeks in the womb. His parents, Danielle and Clayton Pickering, chose to pursue treatment for their baby even though his health appeared grim.
Danielle said, “We figured he was our baby, and he was what the Lord had given us, and we would just do everything we could.” Though Micah still has health problems today, his family said he is a spunky little boy.
A 2015 study in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at the survival and outcomes of almost 5,000 babies born before 27 weeks gestation at 24 hospitals from 2006 -2011. The researchers found that 23 percent of infants survived at just 22 weeks gestation, and their chances of survival increased rapidly each week. However, some babies are not given a chance to survive. The study also found that some hospitals were deliberately denying these very premature babies life-saving medical treatment.
Babies like Ruby and Micah are fortunate because their parents fought to give them the same life-saving medical treatment as any other baby. Their stories are examples of how even the youngest babies are valuable and worth fighting for.