The following morning, Massey got up to visit Faith. At the elevator, nurses saw her and told her she needed someone to accompany her downstairs. She'd just given birth, after all. She told them she'd wait, but left anyway. She wanted to see her baby girl, even though she couldn't hold her.
Faith was bright red, with translucent, underdeveloped skin, Massey said. She was in an incubator with bright purple lights, and was on a ventilator to help her premature lungs breath.
"Her breathing tube was the smallest one that we have," Espiritu said.
Faith's tiny body was covered in a saran wrap-like material to keep her warm.
A few days later, Massey was able to return home, but Faith would remain in the hospital for months to come.
Massey spent her maternity leave visiting Manhattan to see Faith. When she went back to work, her boss allowed her to take two-hour lunch breaks to visit the neonatal intensive care unit. Babies and parents would come in and go out, but Faith and Massey would stay behind.
|"She beat remarkable odds, I think, to go home the way that she did."|
She could always tell when a family was about to take their baby home because a car seat would appear behind that baby's bed. So when it was finally time for Faith to go home, nearly four months after her birthday, Massey bought two car seats for her.
That was in July. Now, Faith weighs nearly 10 pounds.
"She smiles like crazy," Massey said. "She's just a happy baby. As soon as you talk to her, she smiles."
Faith can even get on her hands and push her body all the way up, Massey said, describing it as some kind of baby yoga pose.
Espiritu saw Faith and Massey the day they left the NICU.
"It was such a happy day for me, for everyone who cared for her," he said. "Seeing her from when she was so tiny and seeing her look like she was a regular baby, as if nothing had happened to her."
Espiritu called Faith a "miracle." Her brain had no structural damage, she didn't need oxygen at the time of her discharge, and she avoided major surgery, he said. Still, doctors will need to pay special attention to her as she meets her milestones for the next several years.
"She beat remarkable odds, I think, to go home the way that she did," Espiritu said, adding that the NYU Langone staff took excellent care of her, but didn't do anything out of the ordinary for a preemie. "It surprised everyone that took care of her how strong she was."