DALLAS (NewsNation Now) — A Texas couple says their newest addition to their family is nothing short of a miracle. Helen and Abiey Woldemichael’s daughter was born 3 and a half months early.
Helen gave birth to Amari, at 25 weeks gestation, in the back seat of their SUV during Texas the winter storm. Helen said she thought her contractions were just false labor, known as Braxton Hicks contractions.
“They were starting to get stronger, but I didn’t think it was the real deal,” Helen recalled. “I didn’t think they were actually labor contractions.”
As her contractions became more intense, Helen and her husband Abiey decided to head to the hospital as snow continued to fall outside.
“I kind of freaked out a little bit,” Abiey said. “The roads were slippery. The snow actually turned to ice… black ice. So it was in a pretty bad condition.”
Helen’s pain grew so intense, Abiey pulled over on the side of the road and called 911, but no one answered. So, he continued to drive. Then, at 8 p.m., near Highway 75 and Lovers Lane in Dallas, Amari arrived.
“It just happened — I mean, I just screamed at one point, and she pushed, and then it came out. She came out,” Helen recalled. “She was so little; she was less than two pounds. I didn’t have to push for minutes and hours — as I did with the previous two.”
Helen said she was in shock and Abiey coached her through what to do.
“I didn’t really know what to do. I remember him telling me actually, ‘OK, pick her up,’ because she had fallen to the floor of the car. And so, he was trying to comfort me… like ‘pick her up. Hold her in your hand,'” Helen said.
The couple called 911 again, and the operator helped them ensure Amari stayed warm during the below zero temperate outside.
“Also, the 911 dispatcher told us to put her skin to skin on you… keep her warm. So we turned on the heater as much as he could, and we just kept going,” Helen said.
Finally, they reached Baylor University Medical Center. The hospital is designated with a Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, one of the highest medical designations in the state.
Helen said more than 30 staff members were waiting to greet them.
“To be born in a car, when it’s freezing outside and no help, these babies often get really cold. They get sick. They have breathing problems. So it’s pretty amazing that a baby who had no medical care at birth is doing so well. So that is very unusual,” explained Dr. Vijay Nama, Baylor University Medical Center NICU director.
Now, Amari is two weeks old and weighs slightly more than two pounds. Not only did she survive, but Dr. Nama also says she is thriving.
“The first milestone that we look forward to is when a baby is breathing by herself, and so Amari, right from the get-go when she was born, she’s actually been breathing pretty good,” said Nama.
When it was time to name her, Amari’s father knew one thing for sure, her life is nothing short of a miracle.
“She is a miracle from God, Abiey said. “In Hebrew, Amari means God’s miracle. That’s how we named her.”
Amari, their miracle child, is beating the odds one day at a time.