Breastfeeding preemie's viral post inspires families everywhere

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"She's proving everyone wrong!"

Back in late April, Keri Barcellos-Putt gave birth to her daughter Dahlia at only 28 weeks of pregnancy. The baby was immediately moved to the NICU of the local hospital where she will remain for quote some time. Though this sounds like a tale of tragedy, it’s actually a tale of perseverance and overcoming adversity. Dahlia, though born to unfavorable circumstances, has already proven that she’s capable of shattering expectations.

Just four weeks after her birth, little Dahlia, to the surprise of medical experts, has already began to breastfeed. “They told me she wouldn’t be able to until 34-36 weeks gestation,” Keri wrote in a Facebook post (seen below). “She’s proving everyone wrong!”

Keri, proud of her preemie’s remarkable accomplishments, posted the photo to the her Facebook.  Shortly after, the popular Facebook page Breastfeeding Mama Talk was made aware of the amazing photo. Kristy Kemp, founder of Breastfeeding Mama Talk, reached out to Barcellos-Putt and gained permission to share the inspiring image of the preemie. Since sharing the photo to the Facebook page, the post has garnered over 38,000 likes and over 1,000 shares!

Learn about Dahlia and Keri’s tragic story and how they overcame all odds. Click next for more!

While Dahlia is proving everyone wrong and inspiring individuals everywhere, her mother Keri acknowledges how she and her baby came to this point in their journey. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Keri claims that she had learned of her pregnancy around Halloween of 2015. Everything was going swimmingly until she “had a large bleed,” around Christmas.

(Source: Keri Barcellos-Putt) Baby Dahlia at 28 weeks

(Source: Keri Barcellos-Putt) Baby Dahlia at 28 weeks

Keri and her loved ones went to the emergency to address the problem. After a multitude of blood tests and an ultrasound, doctors came to a disconcerting conclusion. Apparently, the young mother was suffering from a condition known as a subchorionic hematoma.

Initially, there wasn’t much alarm for Keri. “I continued to bleed, but doctors were not concerned because these tend to resolve without complication,” she recalls. During her 18-week ultrasound, the medical issues seemed to have passed. It was during this ultrasound that Barcellos-Putt learned she would be birthing a baby girl.

Three weeks later, about 21 weeks pregnant, Keri’s water unexpectedly broke due to a condition known as preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM). Up to this point, pregnancy had proven to be a tumultuous journey for the young mother and her baby.

Keri regaled The Huffington Post about dealing with her alarming situation: “At that point, the midwife that gave me the news discussed with me my options: come in the next day and take meds to put me in labor and say goodbye to my baby, or stay at home and wait until I go into labor naturally and say goodbye then.”

Learn about Dahlia and Keri’s tragic story and how they overcame all odds. Click next for more!

Keri recounts the grim circumstances was facing. “Statistics show that PPROM patients don’t typically last very long after rupture without going into labor, so the likelihood of me making it to 24 weeks were nil,” she said.

Despite the odds and risks at hand, Keri made the bold decision of continuing the pregnancy.

“I did my own research and found a PPROM regimen that I followed to a T. On the first day of spring, they agreed to admit me for the duration of the pregnancy. I received two rounds of steroids to assist in lung development and two rounds of magnesium for neuro-protection,” Keri said in her interview with The Huffington Post.

Two weeks of bedrest at the family’s house and and additional five weeks at the hospital, resulted in a miraculous birth. Keri birthed Dahlia via emergency C-section due to placental abruption at 28 weeks of pregnancy. When born, baby Dahlia weighed 2 pounds and 8 ounces.

(Source: Keri Barcellos-Putt) Dahlia with mother and father

(Source: Keri Barcellos-Putt) Dahlia with mother and father

Though the problems had come in spades up to this point, they didn’t stop there: “They had warned me that Dahlia may not make it and that if she did, her lungs would likely be extremely underdeveloped,” said the new mother. “I had prepared myself for all possible outcomes, but to my surprise, her lungs were perfect for her gestation.”

Doctors placed Dahlia on CPAP, and she has since shown incredible progress. Though there are usually a laundry-list of health issues associated with preemies, no such problems have afflicted Dahlia.

“She just turned 1 month old and we have another 1.5 to 2 months ahead of us in the NICU, but she is exceeding all expectations,” Keri cheerfully reports. “Her prognosis is great. She might hit milestones a little later than term babies, but she should catch up in no time.”

Learn about Dahlia and Keri’s tragic story and how they overcame all odds. Click next for more!

The close family (2 sons, and her husband) aim to provide support for Dahlia and her mother. Keri believes that a major component of that support comes through her breastfeeding experiences with Dahlia.

“I knew it could only benefit her, so I pushed for it,” she claims. “On the four-week anniversary of her birth, I was allowed to put Dahlia to my breast for the first time and she did great.”

“Throughout this whole process I’ve blamed myself and felt like my body failed Dahlia, so although everything is still out of my hands, I feel like I have some control over her nutrition,” she explained in her interview.

(Source: Keri Barcellos-Putt)

(Source: Keri Barcellos-Putt)

“I pump and plan to breastfeed because I owe it to her and it has helped me to redeem myself in a sense. I missed out on half of my pregnancy, and breastfeeding is a way for me to bond and feel needed by her,” says the mom,

The post of Keri and her baby have definitely aided the mother’s journey. When asked about the success of the post through social media Keri said, “I had no idea it would blow up the way it did, but the reactions have been so positive.”

Ultimately, Keri aims to use her experiences for the better. She started a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise awareness about PPROM and inspire other parents in similar circumstances.

What do you think about Keri’s remarkable journey, and her viral Facebook post? Inspiring stuff!

This article was originally posted by The Huffington Post.

READ:It’s a boy: Birth photographer snaps surprising news

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