One Michigan couple faced a number of challenges after their daughter was born nearly four months before her due date. Yet, through unwavering faith and prayer, Emilee Wendzik and Patrick Schultz brought their baby home this month.
The couple arrived at Saginaw's Covenant HealthCare on June 29 after Emilee started having abdominal pain. To their surprise, the doctor told them an emergency c-section was imminent.
Emilee said she anticipated their daughter's birth to be ahead of schedule, but not quite this early.
"That day went by so fast when they told me 'later in the afternoon we're taking you for an emergency c-section' - my mind was blown," she recalled.
"We came in for some abdominal pain that was radiating down her sides and we just thought worst case we'll just go home on bedrest," Patrick explained. "That Monday was definitely life-changing for sure."
Harper Rose Schultz was born that afternoon at 22-and-a-half weeks gestation and weighed slightly over 11 ounces - classifying her as a micro-preemie.
After her birth, Harper required assistance with breathing and had to use a ventilator. The new parents remained optimistic and viewed every day with their daughter as "a gift."
"Patrick and I appreciate all the prayers and support of everyone reaching out, we love all and thank all of you during this upcoming time," Emilee wrote on Facebook.
Dr. Martin Nwankwo said Covenant had never worked with a baby that small before.
"This is the smallest baby that we've ever resuscitated and to see her grow from where we started to going home now in reasonably good shape - it's mind-boggling for us," he revealed. "We've never done this before."
Patrick noted that Harper's birth was a "glimmer of hope" during a chaotic and restless year. "It's nothing short of a miracle," he said.
Staff at the hospital had grown close to Harper but were overjoyed that she was finally able to leave with her family.
"We love our babies very, very much and we are always so happy when they get to go home," declared Covenant Healthcare's Dr. Renae Reisig.
Baby Harper weighed 6 lbs 10 ounces when she left the hospital with her parents on Nov. 4. She is still on oxygen and has special needs for feeding, but her parents are grateful to be going home together.
"She's such a blessing and we are just so thankful," Emilee said.
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