The photo of a premature baby girl just five days after her birth is bringing a smile to hundreds of thousands of people on the internet.
Freya Vinje is almost 2 years old now, but her 2014 birth was a traumatic experience for her parents, Lauren and David Vinje of Minnesota. Lauren recently shared her story and her daughter’s photo on the blog “Birth Without Fear” with the hope of encouraging other parents with premature babies.
The photo Lauren shared shows 5-day-old Freya in her hospital bed giving her mother a giant smile.
“I was talking to her and I had said, ‘Should we send a picture to Daddy?’ and right when I was about to take the picture, she had this huge smile,” Lauren remembered. “It was a picture that I had always wanted to get out for people to see because of how it touched me [in] the way that it did. We gave a copy to the nurses, and when we went to have our second little girl, they still had it hanging up in their break room.”
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“In my head, I knew what it was but my doctor was not confirming it,” Lauren Vinje recalled. “[With] preeclampsia, your body sees the placenta as being a foreign object and it’s almost like your body becomes allergic to it — [that’s] what they told me. If you’re not monitored closely, you’ll lose the baby.”
On Thanksgiving Day 2014, Freya was born in an emergency C-section weighing 4 pounds, 4 ounces, according to the report. She spent almost a month in the hospital before she was able to go home, her mother said.
“She was perfect, ours, and worth every single thing we went through to bring her into this world,” her mother wrote for Birth Without Fear.
Freya and her family are doing well now. The toddler’s second birthday is a few weeks away, and her parents said their daughter has the same joyful personality that she did when she was five days old.
“Honestly, she is the best thing that has happened to us,” Lauren Vinje said. “We go to the store and she’s the friendliest little girl and she says hi to everybody. She’s so fun. She’s so happy. That picture at 5 days old, you can see her little personality and you look at her now, and she hasn’t changed. She’s still the happy little girl in that photo.”
Lauren said they were shocked to see Freya’s picture go viral. More than 228,000 people liked her photo on the “Love What Matters” Facebook page.
“It made me feel really good,” she told ABC News. “Under the comments, I read through a lot of the stories and it’s [for] moms to know, especially mom who are going through it now … they don’t have to go through it alone.”