Mom's message to others in a similar situation is inspiring and full of hope.
Sofia Viktoria Birina was born on October 2 at just 22 weeks and 4 days gestation. With a 10% chance of surviving labor itself, the little Scottish girl defied the doctors and finally went home on February 10.
Weighing in at just 1 pound 1 ounce — about the size of a block of butter — the tiny preemie arrived screaming into the world. Her parents Egija and Inars, who come from Latvia, shared that what followed was “132 of the longest and scariest days of their lives,” in a report with the BBC.
The baby’s birth came as a big surprise to the couple who now live in Lanarkshire, Scotland. At the 20 week sonograph everything looked fine. Then just one week later, Egija had sudden pains and was admitted to the University Hospital Wishaw. After bed rest, little Sofia decided she couldn’t wait any longer and was delivered safely.
“Sofia was literally the size of a hand, so fragile and small and her skin was see-through. I had to wait a week to hold her for the first time because she was so fragile. Once I was able to hold her, they couldn’t get her out of my hands,” explained the new mom.
As one of Scotland’s youngest ever preemies, Sofia has already faced a number of medical battles. including a heart defect, stage one brain bleeds, an eye disease, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and a number of infections, as well as needing to undergo 7 blood transfusions, according to the BBC.
Yet, thanks to her loving parents, who’ve never left her side, and the incredible work of the medical professionals, the tiny tot was finally able to breathe alone and grow strong enough to go home with a little oxygen tube.
In what was an emotionally exhausting experience, Sofia’s mom explained: “She was hooked up to lots of machines and she was ventilated for several weeks to help her breathe. First time they tried to get her to breathe on her own, 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.”
But now, at 4 months of age (although just a couple of weeks past her due date of February 1) Sofia is back home with a beautiful smile and weighing over 4 pounds.
According to the doctors, the preemie is developing at the right rate and just has to attend regular health checks at the hospital for her first two years, as well as appointments with the lung clinic until she’s three or four.
Egija wants to share a powerful message to those who might undergo a similar experience: “To all other mummies going into such an early labor, there is hope. Never give up.”