Lauren Vinje, Freya’s mother, shared the smiling picture with a childbirth blog. Within days, the photo received thousands of shares on social media.
“It made me feel really good,” mom of two Vinje, of Minnesota, told ABC News. “Under the comments, I read through a lot of the stories and it’s [for] moms to know, especially mom who are going through it now ... they don’t have to go through it alone.”
Freya was born to David and Lauren Vinje on Thanksgiving Day in 2014.
"In my head, I knew what it was but my doctor was not confirming it," Lauren Vinje recalled. "[With] preeclampsia, your body sees the placenta as being a foreign object and it’s almost like your body becomes allergic to it -- [that’s] what they told me. If you're not monitored closely, you'll lose the baby."
During a Nov. 25, 2014, visit, Lauren Vinje's doctor informed her that the baby's heart rate was dropping and she'd have to prepare to have the baby.
Two days later, Freya was born at 12:16 p.m. via emergency C-section. She weighed 4 pounds, 4 ounces.
She remained in the NICU until Dec. 21.
"I didn't get to hold her until she was about 5 hours old," Lauren Vinje said. "David, my husband, got to hold her pretty much right away. They made sure she was able to breathe on her own because with preemies, [doctors] are always worries about lung development."
Five days after Freya was born, Vinje snapped a photo of her daughter as she grinned from ear to ear.
"I was talking to her and I had said, 'Should we send a picture to Daddy?' and right when I was about to take the picture, she had this huge smile. It was a picture that I had always wanted to get out for people to see because of how it touched me [in] the way that it did. We gave a copy to the nurses, and when we went to have our second little girl, they still had it hanging up in their break room."
Lauren Vinje shared Freya's picture with the blog "Birth Without Fear" in hopes that it would comfort other parents of premature infants.
The site shared Lauren Vinje's birth story on Oct. 8 and since then, Freya's smiling face has received thousands of shares on social media. The photo also inspired parents to share their own stories about having a baby born premature, she said.
"I showed my husband David, [I said], 'Look, there's 2,000 likes!'" she said. "And now, I've been seeing it on all of these different sites. I had a feeling it would put some smiles on a few people's faces."
Lauren Vinje added of parents of preemies: "Hopefully everything is going to be alright, every case is different. Especially when you are in the NICU, it feels like you're never going to get out of there. It was really hard for me. I didn't feel like I could enjoy this new baby of mine."
Freya's father David Vinje agreed. "Like Lauren had said, when you're going through it, you don't know what to expect when it's your first time having kids," he told ABC News. "I think [it's] for people going through this to have that idea of, 'Oh, there's other people going through this too.'"
Today, Freya is thriving and will celebrate her second birthday next month.
“Honestly, she is the best thing that has happened to us,” Lauren Vinje said. "We go to the store and she's the friendliest little girl and she says hi to everybody. She's so fun. She's so happy. That picture at 5 days old, you can see her little personality and you look at her now, and she hasn't changed. She's still the happy little girl in that photo."