By Dave Andrusko
It was purely a coincidence. No sooner had I finished writing about the sad, sad story of Ariel Levy’s miscarriage at 19 weeks than I ran across “One Miraculous Year In The Life Of A Baby Born Too Soon,” the amazing story of how little Ward Miles, born at 25 weeks, survived incredible odds and is now a thriving 16-month-old toddler.
The setting for the story that appeared on Huffington Post was the surprise video Ben Miller made for his wife, Lyndsey Miller, on her 32nd birthday. “I had tricked her into thinking I was working on other projects late into the night,” her husband Ben told the Huffington Post. “I called her back to my office and as soon as she saw Ward on the screen she knew I had been working on something for her and she started crying.”
Making it more perfect is that her birthday coincided with the one-year-anniversary of the day Ward came home from the hospital.
And Ward had really been up against it. Lyndsey, only 25 weeks along, experienced cramps. Turns out she was in labor and four hours after her doctor sent her to the hospital, Ward was born.
It was not until ten days passed that doctors did their first brain scan, according to the Huffington Post’s Farah L. Miller. There are four grades—with four being the worst. Ward scored 2 on one side of his brain and four on the other.
“We were devastated,” Ben told Miller. “The bleeds could lead to severe problems down the road. And we couldn’t do anything to fix it. The doctors couldn’t do anything to fix it. It was a horrible feeling. All we could do was pray.”
One can only imagine just how devastated the couple was. Yet the very night they received the terrible news, Ben wrote this in his journal.
“At the 6:00 care time, we were holding his hand, looking at him, talking to him. His CPAP mask was off, and his feeding tube was out as well. He was feeling good since he didn’t have any of that on. While we were watching him, he turned his little head towards us, and then opened his eyes. We know he can’t see at this stage, but the fact that he opened them, and opened them so wide we had not seen before. He stared right at us. He held our gaze. Just looked right at us. Didn’t blink. I had enough time to get a photo of it. After a little while he shut his little eyes and turned his head back to the ceiling. I will never forget that moment. I feel as if he was telling us ‘I’m okay!!! Don’t give up on me!”
Miller’s story concludes with an update on Ward, now 16 months, and his considerable progress. Although he’s just learning to crawl, he’s been trying to walk for months. “He has some words, including “dog” and “Mc” (the name of one of the family dogs), though he is still working on “puppy” and “Samson” (their other pet),” Miller writes. The story ends delightfully:
“Ben jokes that Lyndsey has now watched the video so many times, she might make up half of its hits on Vimeo. But with over 250,000 views, and those numbers climbing, it’s more likely that he has done something amazing for the world beyond their little family.
“As one NICU nurse wrote of the film on Tumblr: ‘This is why I do what I do.’
“Bravo, Ben. Happy Birthday, Lyndsey. We’re cheering for you, Ward.”
You can watch Ben’s surprise video at www.youtube.com.