Photos show healthy transformation of preemie in the NICU

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Photos of the healthy transformation of a baby in the NICU are spreading hope to preemie parents around the country. 

Grace Parkinson was born at 23 weeks and six days. She weighed just one pound, one ounce. Now, three months later Grace has grown to more than five pounds. 

Grace's mother, 25-year-old Mary Parkinson, tells KTVU she had been having complications since her fifteenth week of pregnancy and doctors believed she was having a miscarriage. However, every ultrasound continued to show a strong heartbeat. 

Parkinson was eventually diagnosed with partial placental abruption and low amniotic fluid. Doctors told Parkinson her placenta was about 40 percent detached from the uterine wall. "It was no longer a question of 'if' I was going to have preterm labor, but 'when.' Thankfully, I was able to stay pregnant long enough to get to give Grace a fighting chance at life," she said. 

When Parkinson went into labor, she says things were not looking good. Mary and her husband Zac Parkinson were told Grace would only have a 4 percent chance of surviving labor via a natural birth. The couple planned on a C-section the next day, but Grace had her own ideas and arrived before the C-section naturally.

The Parkinsons were given a terrifying scenario. They were told if doctors couldn't intubate Grace, she would remain with them and they would have time to hold her close before she passed away.

Mary Parkinson told KTUV,  "Those few moments we waited to see if she could be intubated seemed to last forever. But finally they were successful and whisked her away to the NICU."

It still wasn't clear if she would make it, but  Parkinson says she could tell her precious baby girl was a fighter. 

"I want parents of preemies to know that there is always hope. These babies may be small but they are so much stronger than we can imagine. I've lost count of how many time I was told Grace would die, but here she is, stronger than ever," she said. 

Right now the Parkinsons are teaching Grace to take a bottle and are hoping her oxygen requirements will go down soon. Mary Parkinson says they are looking forward to bringing their baby girl home.