When Angela Bakker’s daughter Naomi was born, she was so small that her parents were barely able to touch her. However, after two long weeks, Angela was finally able to hold her baby. And the sweet moment touched the hearts of everyone who saw it.
Angela and her husband Michael come from Reno, Nevada. The couple longed for a family, and to help them achieve their dream of having children, they turned to IVF. And it was thanks to the revolutionary fertility treatment that the Bakkers were able to welcome their first child, Nathaniel.
When their son was two years old, Angela and Michael decided to expand their family once more. As a result, they returned to their IVF clinic. Once there, doctors inserted two of the couple’s remaining embryos into Angela’s womb.
One of the embryos implanted successfully. That’s how the couple came to expect their daughter, Naomi. Presumably, the first five months of Angela’s pregnancy went to plan. However, when the couple attended a routine scan, they received the worrying news that their little girl wasn’t as big as she should have been.
Soon after, when Angela was 23 weeks pregnant, doctors diagnosed her with intrauterine growth restriction. The condition was caused by a problem with the expectant mom’s placenta. As a result, little Naomi wasn’t getting the vital nutrients she needed to develop.
Doctors expected the condition would have dire consequences for the Bakkers’ unborn baby. In fact, they predicted she would end up dying in the womb. Understandably, the devastating news tore Angela and Michael’s world apart.
Writing on Facebook, Michael said, “Nothing prepared us for that kind of news. Absolutely nothing. What was supposed to be a routine visit was anything but. The outcome was terribly bleak and we were told to prepare for a cesarean in about two weeks to deliver our little daughter, if she didn’t die in the womb before hand.”
Two weeks later, while conducting an ultrasound, doctors told Angela and Michael that their baby would probably not survive another day in the womb. As a result, they advised the couple to go to the hospital for an emergency cesarean.
Before the couple knew it, Angela found herself lying on an operating table as surgeons prepared her for her delivery. She knew that at an estimated 13 ounces, her daughter’s chances of survival were slim. However, she and Michael wanted their doctors to do all they could to save their baby’s life.
With that in mind, the couple’s doctor said he would try to slide a breathing tube into Naomi’s throat following her birth. But he warned her parents that she might simply be too small for the apparatus. Once again, the little girl’s future looked bleak.
But after she was born, her dedicated medical team were able to get the breathing tube down Naomi’s throat. Moreover, they were impressed to note that the infant was breathing on her own straight out of the womb. She may have weighed just 12.86 ounces, but little Naomi had plenty of fight in her.
Naomi had an uphill battle ahead of her if she was going to survive. Given the fact she was 15 weeks early, her organs were undeveloped and her eyes were still sealed shut. Furthermore, she was so small that she could fit into your palm.
To give Naomi the best shot at survival, her parents handed her over to staff at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Renown Regional Medical Center. She was so fragile that Angela and Michael weren’t even able to hold their child.
Some doctors warned Naomi’s parents that she had less than a 1 percent chance of surviving without health problems. Meanwhile, nurses at the neonatal clinic told them that babies born as early as Naomi only survived 50 percent of the time. However, Angela and Michael refused to give up hope.
Instead, they turned to their faith for guidance. “We got on our knees, and we begged,” Angela revealed to KRNV in 2015. “And we said we would take her however he gave it. If she was blind, or whatever, we just wanted our baby.”
To aid Naomi’s recovery, doctors believed that skin-to-skin contact was vital. So two weeks after her daughter’s birth, Angela was able to hold her for the very first time. And although she was excited to touch her child, the new mom was understandably nervous.
Luckily for her, she had the hospital’s expert neonatal staff to help her. They gently placed Naomi on Angela’s chest and allowed the mother and daughter to bond for the first time. It was a beautiful moment that will likely live with the Bakkers for the rest of their lives.
After that initial embrace, Angela and Michael held Naomi every single day that she remained in the NICU. And, over the course of five months they witnessed their little girl reach many important milestones. While still in the hospital, Naomi opened her eyes, took her first bath, started breathing without a ventilator and finally reached one pound in weight.
Against all the odds, Naomi was finally ready to leave the hospital and go home for the first time. It was a day that her parents hadn’t even dared to dream about at the start of their journey. “The fact that they feel she’s well enough to come home, is a miracle,” they admitted at the time.
Eight months later, in July 2016, Naomi celebrated her first birthday as a healthy and happy little girl. The only reminder of her ordeal was an oxygen mask she wore at night to aid her breathing. And her parents couldn’t have been prouder. “Just watching her bloom and thrive has been amazing,” Angela said. “You look at her now and you’re like you’ve come so far.”