Baby born after head-on collision can now see clearly for 1st time
Juliana McBride is getting stronger everyday.
— -- The first nine months of Juliana McBride's life has been incredibly challenging. But now she's experiencing a major step in her long recovery: seeing her parents clearly for the very first time.
Juliana weighed 1 pound and 11 ounces when she was born prematurely at 25 weeks. Her parents, Julie and Jevon McBride, were in a head-on collision on Oct. 7, 2016, when she was still in utero. Juliana was born in an emergency cesarean section a day after the accident.
Father, mother and daughter all suffered numerous injuries in the collision. While Juliana sustained intraventricular bleeding, or bleeding in the brain, Julie McBride suffered a concussion along with a right hip contusion. Jevon McBride, 32, had his right leg completely shattered, including a broken femur, tibia and ankle.
"They didn't think she would make it," Julie McBride, 31, told ABC News of her daughter. "They weren’t given us that much hope."
"I tried my best to shield Julie's stomach from the impact," Jevon McBride, an Air Force staff sergeant, added. "I grabbed her stomach immediately to try and shield whatever I could."
"I tried my best to shield Julie's stomach from the impact..."
The accident was even tougher to endure for the Warrensburg, Missouri, couple, who had been trying to have their first child for 10 years.
After months of recovering, the couple got a glimmer of hope last week. Their daughter was able to see them clearly after being outfitted with purple glasses at a local optometrist.
In a video that's now gone viral, little Juliana is looking up at her dad, even cracking a smile.
Julie McBride said she gave her daughter to her husband in that moment because "both of them had it worst in the accident...while she's learning how to crawl, he's learning how to walk again."
She added that her husband can now walk with the help of crutches or his daughter's stroller.
"She can really see. You can tell she's seeing things differently."
The new mom, who's also a teacher at Whiteman Air Force Base, said she recorded the special moment because she knew it'd be precious.
"She's just looking up at him like, 'Wow, you're my dad. You're really my dad,'" Julie McBride said. "She can really see. You can tell she's seeing things differently."
Jevon McBride added, "It was beautiful honestly because I could tell she was looking at me. I could see her eyes focusing on me."
Juliana's recovery is far from over. After being outfitted with glasses, the baby, who was diagnosed with retinopathy of prematurity, a disease affecting premature babies that can lead to blindness, will need to undergo surgery on her eyes.
She's already had brain surgery and several blood transfusions.
"You don’t want your child to go through another surgery, but when she got the glasses and I saw her reaction, I said to myself, 'This is going to be OK,'" Julie McBride said. "We’ve already been through the worst. This is nothing."
Jevon McBride said he hopes that when his daughter grows up, she realizes that "the sky is the limit. I fully mean that."
ABC News Live
24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events