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I'm Damara... As a baby, I was born THREE months early. At 26 weeks gestation... Yes, that's right, my mother only carried me for 6 months. But 26 weeks into her pregnancy with me she was diagnosed with preeclampsia formerly called toxemia.

This is rare early on in a pregnancy most women who develop preeclampsia develop a mild version near their due date. It can affect many organs and cause serious or even life-threatening problems. Sorry if I'm boring you, but to understand my story, you have to know all of this...

Preeclampsia constricts blood vessels resulting in high blood pressure and sometime fluid "leaks" and a reduced blood flow. When less blood flows to the uterus it can mean problems for the baby, such as poor growth, too little amniotic fluid, and plancetia abruption. Changes in blood pressure can cause capillaries to "leak" fluid into your tissues, which results in swelling (edema).

Doctors told her that if she didn't undergo emergency cesarean that we would both die. They then explained the VERY slim chances of my survival, as I was really just getting into the second trimester. They explained how there were risks of long term and short term sickness.

They told my parents that in the first weeks, the complications may include:
-Breathing problems.
-Heart problems.
-Brain problems.
-Temperature control problems.
-Gastrointestinal problems.
-Infant jaundice.
-Metabolism problems.

They explained that in the long term, premature birth may lead to these complications:
-Cerebral palsy.
-Vision problems.
-Hearing problems.
-Dental problems.
-Behavioral and psychological problems.
-Chronic health issues.

They also told them that premature infants are also at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

They basically gave no hope for me. They told my parents that if I were to survive I would have a lot of different problems, physically, emotionally... When they started operating, my mothers hands were swollen so badly that she wasn't even able to make a fist. There was a strenuous amount of fluid around my heart.

Then, on the morning of 09/23/95, I was brought into this world. Not crying... So teeny tiny that I wasn't breathing. They rushed me away without a word to my mother, she had no idea if I were dead or alive. She had no idea what I looked like. She heard no cry...

She explained that she prayed for a little baby with dark hair and blue eyes... She explained how she prayed for me, she got me... She lost two other babies before the second trimester... I wasn't going anywhere.

Well, I wasn't going to die anyway. They had to air lift me to another hospital. Where they used all sorts of equipment; some right away, some further along... such as; bililights, blood pressure monitors, cardiopulmonary monitors, central lines, C-PAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), Endotracheal Tube, Incubator, Intravenous Lines, Mechanical Ventilators, Nasal Cannulas or Nasal Prongs, Oxygen Hood, Pulse Oximeter, Radiant Warmers, and Umbilical Catheters. wedding collections in light blue

While I was fighting to survive through the nights my mother was still in a different hospital then me, but she soon demanded to go to the hospital I was in. While I was in one hospital and my mother in another, my father was caught between two places. Bringing back news of how I was doing, to my mom. He showed her a picture of me, itty bitty me, in an itty bitty purple suit.

Finally she was able to go see me for the first time, every bit of 1 pound and 12 ounces. She was amazed to see my little arms and legs move. Legs that were so tiny, my fathers wedding band could easily slip over my ankle. They were in awe as they watched my teeny toothpick fingers grasp onto cords. She was amazed to see something so tiny, defy the odds; survive several nights.

She was staring at a work of God; a miracle. As days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, they watched me grow in many ways. I soon had no problems with my eyesight, hearing, breathing, eating, or sleeping. The PDA in my heart closed as I grew, I didn't need a single surgery. Everything recorded on my charts were nothing but good. Doctors, nurses, family, and friends were all amazed to see itty bitty me live.

Now, imagine the doctors didn't go ahead and use the equipment that helped me survive. I surely would have died. But they did, because they decided to give me a chance.

There are thousands of babies out there that are labeled "incompatible with life" or "too tiny to live." Imagine if doctors just gave up on them... Well, sadly, you don't have to imagine.

Several babies born are barely ever even given the chance to live. Just like Sophie Marie Dennis ' daughter Autumn Orion Dennis. Whether they require oxygen, surgeries, or any other medical help... Doctors are not often willing to help. Simply because these babies are born before a cut off date. Even if these babies are born breathing like Autumn.

That's not right, not one bit. I was given a fighting chance, and I proved everybody wrong. I wasn't supposed to live. I was "incompatible with life" but I LIVED. These babies deserve a fighting chance too.

They deserve to fight, just like I did. Autumn deserved a chance just like I did. My heart breaks that doctors did not assist her further.