Dad of preemie born at 25 weeks, “Dig in, have faith, and keep on keeping on”

A viral video that shows the first year of a preemie born at 25 weeks gives glory to God and supports the fact that all life is precious.

Parents Benjamin and Lindsey were not expecting their unborn son Ward so early when he was unexpectedly born 3 1/2 months early on July 16, 2012.

Ward Miller 3

At 25 weeks, Ward Miles Miller was only 12 inches long and weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces at birth.

Babies this age can be legally aborted in the womb.

One doctor told us straight up the first night that there was a 50/50 chance that he would be normal,” Ward’s father, Benjamin Miller told CNN. “We definitely prayed and prayed.”

Ward Miller and mom

Ward had some complications after his birth and spent more than 100 days in the NICU at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

When we finally brought him home, it was amazing,” Miller said. “That was the day. Everything was leading up to that day, and to have him there was amazing. It was how it was supposed to be from the get-go. We had to wait 107 days before we could experience that, so it was just amazing.”

A video his parents published showing Ward’s first year outside the womb made it into YouTube’s ’10 Years of YouTube‘ compilation.

Ward’s father Benjamin posted this explanation about the video, which has received millions of views.

      This is a story of a mother’s love for her baby.

Ward Miller mom

It sums up my son’s first year.

He was born way too early, and the obstacles he had to overcome were really big, but not bigger than our God.

I made this video to commemorate his first year and how far he has come.

Today also happens to be his mother’s birthday… so I made this as a gift to her for both of these special days.

When Ben published the video on November 1, 2013, he explained that he wanted to show just how bad things were for his son, so that the world could know the miracle that God did in Ward’s life.

A year from yesterday Ward came home. 32 years from today his mother was born. I made this for both of these special days…” he wrote on Facebook.

Ward Miller smiles

“Many of you have not seen Ward like this. You have seen pictures. You have read a lot of posts. But, I think this video will show just how small he was when he was born, and how sick he was. I didn’t hold back when editing. I didn’t just include cute clips. There are some nasty moments. The reason being that I wanted people to see how bad he looked, so that when they look at him today they get a better sense of how far he has come. It is truly a miracle and we thank God daily for getting him to where he is!” he said.

The video has received a ton of comments blessing both NICU workers as well as parents of premature infants.

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The sanctity of life has also been a theme with one viewer writing, “How beautiful and moving! Thank you! I would like to send this to every doctor that recommends abortion during pregnancy. Nothing is more precious than a child’ s smile! Ward is your award of patience, love, care! God bless your family!

Another wrote this, “i am a rape victim. i don’t know what makes me decide to keep my child but i still do it. he is now nearing a year old. i am very young and people around me tell me to abort him. my family uses violence to make me give him up. but if i never give birth to him, i wouldn’t have the strength to live on. i nearly took my life but because a life is inside my body, i shouldn’t be so selfish to take away my and his life. after giving birth to him, i took a month to acknowledge that i ‘m a mother and he is my son. i used to be financially tight. but thanks God and His greatest gift (my baby boy), I survived and I have never looked back once. From learning to roll, learning to laugh, learning to kick water in the bathtub, my baby boy teaches me about life. I am looking forward to seeing him walk or called me “Mummy”. I am stronger now. and much more happier. I live a life greater than before. He is my hope and the light of my life. I hope my story can reach out to those who are struggling. God bless you.”

Ward Miller 25 weeks 2

Others have posted their own stories of survival:

      “I was born 3 months early and weighted 2 pounds 12 oz and don’t have a health problem to this day but I had lung infections and one of my lungs collapsed when I was born because my lungs weren’t developed all the way but I made it through and anybody can as long as they believe of survival.”

“I was born four months early.. There is hope. I had a two percent chance of living, with grade four brain hydrocephalus and four holes in my heart. I was a pound and six ounces, eleven inches long. The doctors said there was no way I was going to make it, they wanted my mother to hold me until I passed. My mom would not give up on me just yet… and because of that I turned out to be a healthy, normal teenage girl.”

“Great video, I’m so glad he’s doing well. It brought back a lot of memories and tears. My first daughter was born at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1.3 pounds, or 594 grams. This was 26 years ago. Now they have surfactant to improve lung function, and many other technologies, but it still comes down to the dedication and skill of the doctors and nurses who work in the NICU whether a child has a chance to survive. That and just a flat out refusal to die. My daughter had open heart surgery, brain bleeds, internal fungal infections…every time it looked like the end, she fought back and the staff was there fighting along side her. God, how I love those people. Their work is phenomenal.”

“As the mother of a 27-weeker, I was moved to tears by your story. At birth, our son weighed 2.2 lbs but also dropped in the first few days. I too, remember the emotional movement as I held my son for the first time. It was nearly a month before I could hold him. He was also in the NICU for 106 days and when he finally came home, he simply thrived. He will be 5 years old this September. Your little one has overcome so much and only other preemie parents can truly relate to the journey that is every day, every milestone, every memory of the early years. God is good and faith moves mountains. Thank you for sharing.”

Benjamin said that the couple was comforted by the prayers and support from friends and family all over the country during their days in the hospital.

Ward Miller Today

“You’ve got to love your baby. You have got to be there. We spent every single day there [in the NICU] and there were so many babies whose parents only came twice a week,” Benjamin told Today.

Our faith was rocked and I wondered, ‘Why?’ But now I have an answer. God knew that I was going to make this video that would be shared by so many. A lot of people go through really hard times. It shapes who we are today,” he said.

Ward’s dad told Today that the couple never expected so many people would view the video but he is glad it has been received so lovingly, especially by people who have had a shared experience with a preemie baby.

All of them thanked me for giving them a tool to show others what their stay at the NICU was like. Whether you are a parent of preemie, or going through anything like this, you just have to hang on. Dig in, have faith, and keep on keeping on,” he said.

An update posted by the couple a year ago states that Ward is doing great.

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