(Photo: NYU Langone Medical Center)
The mother of a baby who survived being born about four months early says she dreamed that God spoke to her the night before she went into labor.
Marie Massey, 42, told ABC News that when she was just 23 weeks pregnant she had a dream in which she heard God speak. He told her He would care for her daughter, but she had to have faith.
The next day she took the train from her home in Princeton, N.J., to the bank she works at in Manhattan. She didn't feel well the day before, she says, and she felt strange on the train, but it wasn't until she got to work that someone, a coworker, told her: "I think you're in labor."
She was in disbelief at first, but after consulting with her doctor she went to NYU Langone Medical Center. She was given pills to try and stop the labor, but they failed and Faith was born on the afternoon of Mar. 7. Babies born so prematurely rarely survive, Massey says the doctors told her, and those that do are often afflicted with a variety of issues such as cerebral palsy and brain bleeds.
"The list went on and on," Massey told ABC News. "So I'm laying there, and I kept saying to them, 'She's gonna be fine. Don't worry.' They said, 'But you don't understand Ms. Massey. There's no chance here.'"
But despite the odds against her, baby Faith, who got her name from Massey's dream, was able to go home in July. Faith, who weighed only 15 ounces when she was born, now weighs nearly 10 pounds.
Dr. Michael Espiritu, a neonatologist at NYU Langone, told The Christian Post that 24 weeks of development in the mother's womb is generally considered the "limit of viability" for prematurely born babies. Those born under the same circumstances as Faith have only a 10 to 20 percent chance of survival, he said. The odds that they'll survive without a major disability is five percent or less.
"We really didn't expect her to survive, just because...we're all aware of what the numbers are out there for a baby that small and that young," said Espiritu.
Babies born at 23 weeks have underdeveloped organs and body systems, he says. Faith was put on a ventilator to ensure she could breathe. Her nutrition was given to her intravenously because her digestive system wasn't developed enough. Her skin was also underdeveloped, so she spent a great deal of time in an incubator where the medical staff could control the climate surrounding her.
Espiritu says the hospital staff was surprised to see how well she progressed during the weeks and months after her birth.
"People have been calling it a miracle, because she really went against such really incredible odds to turn out the way she did," he said.
Babies who spend a lot of time developing outside of the womb are often more sensitive to respiratory infections and viruses, Espiritu says, which is just one of a number of possible obstacles Faith may still have to face. He also says doctors will have to continue monitoring her progress to make sure she hits key development milestones as she matures.