Mia's Story

Mia was born 12 weeks early. In her fragile state, Mia developed necrotizing enterocolitis, a devastating and often deadly bowel disease that strikes premature infants. She was transferred to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), part of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s, and had life-saving surgery. 

Mia’s parents were headed for one last vacation – a trip to Las Vegas – when the contractions began. “We were packing when the labor pains started.  Instead of getting on the plane, we headed for the hospital,” recalls Susan, Mia’s mother.

It wasn’t yet time for Mia to be born. Susan was only 27 weeks pregnant. Susan and Graeme, Mia’s father, were scared, unsure of what the future held for their baby. The doctors at the birthing hospital were able to hold off delivery for one week. Not long after Mia was born, doctors discovered she had developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a disease that destroys the bowels of fragile babies.

Surgery for Mia

Each year in the United States up to 4,000 newborns will develop NEC and in Cincinnati alone more than five percent of all preterm infants weighing less than 3 pounds will die from the condition.

Mia weighed just over 2 pounds.

She was transferred to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), part of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s, the referral center for premature and critically ill newborns whose mothers give birth at 33 hospitals in the region.

When Mia arrived at Cincinnati Children’s, her condition was very grim: She was so tiny – and fighting a very nasty infection. Mia had her first of five surgeries before she was a month old. All told, she spent 221 days in the hospital

Each year, more than 750 fragile infants, like Mia, are transferred to the NICU for a broad range of specialty services, including treatment and surgery for NEC.  The NICU is one of the clinical arms of the Perinatal Institute, which is dedicated to improving the health of all newborn infants through innovative and collaborative research, clinical care, education and community outreach efforts.

“We are so fortunate that Cincinnati Children’s was here for our daughter. The neonatal experts there saved Mia’s life,” Graeme says.

Susan and Graeme spent as much time as possible with Mia during her hospital stay. The couple would take turns staying at the hospital, Susan during the afternoon and Graeme at night. 

“When we couldn’t be with her, we always knew that she was in the best possible hands,” Susan says. “And the nurses took as good of care of us as they did of Mia.”

After eight months and five surgeries, Mia went home just a few days before Thanksgiving.

“It’s amazing how much Mia has grown and changed since we brought her home from the hospital last year,” Susan says. “Now 1, she is happy and healthy. She is a true miracle, and we give thanks every day that Cincinnati Children’s was there for her.”

Born 12 weeks early and weighing only 2 pounds, Mia had life-saving surgery at Cincinnati Children's to treat a devastating bowel disease. 

Mia - Top Photo 

Mia had five surgeries and stayed 221 days in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit  at Cincinnati Children's. She went home just a few days before Thanksgiving last year. 

Mia - Middle 

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