Miracle (noun) : an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God.
Do you believe in miracles? It’s a question that recently came up when I was talking about my surviving triplet, Peyton. In 2013, I delivered my triplets more than 17 weeks premature. Peyton’s two siblings eventually passed away, but for some reason, our little fighter defied the odds. On paper, there is no reason why she should be here with us today. She was born at just over a pound, with a brain bleed, an e-coli infection, a heart defect and extremely premature lungs. She endured numerous blood transfusions, a surgery to prevent her from becoming blind and so many close calls that we didn’t know IF she would survive until she was past two months old. Peyton spent close to four months in the NICU, coming home on oxygen and monitors.
Fast forward to today and you would never guess that our NICU princess was once a one pound micro-preemie. Peyton is a typical toddler these days. She melts down in a matter of seconds and embodies the “terrible two’s” through a high pitch scream and flailing on the ground. She lights up a room with her smile and her roaring giggle is sure to warm your heart. Peyton is making strides when it comes to catching up developmentally and she has almost no concerns with her health. The medical field is perplexed by this outcome; her longtime doctors, nurses and therapists have never really seen a child like her. Most 22 weekers don’t survive, and the fact that she doesn’t have any disabilities or health issues, is what leads the medical community to call her a “miracle.”
Just 10 years ago, babies like Peyton wouldn’t even have a chance of survival; that’s how far modern medicine has come. Even these days, most hospitals don’t consider a baby viable until 23 or 24 weeks gestation. So a baby born between 22 and 23 weeks usually doesn’t survive. Yet, our local hospital gave my children a chance…and it paid off. While my daughter, Abby, only lived a few hours, her brother, Parker, gave us close to 2 precious months to spend with him.
Peyton had a recent post-NICU check up, where she was tested on everything from her motor skills to balance. The same doctor has followed her for two years, since the moment we first brought her home. A year ago, she was at an extremely high risk for delays, yet this year, she’s down to a borderline mild-to-moderate risk. She’s making strides quicker than kids who were born full term. Her doctor shared some promising news. He told us that very few 22 weekers survive at all, and of those, only about 5% lead a healthy life without disabilities. He thinks Peyton is one of those 5%, calling her a medical miracle.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a miracle is an unusual event that is believed to be caused by the power of God. I think that sums up our surviving triplet. Peyton shouldn’t have made it through her first night, yet by some act of God, she is here with us more than two years later. When I look at her, I marvel at who she has become. That feisty little girl is a beautiful miracle in our eyes, destined for big things in life.