Heather Burns Brown: She was born with this full head of hair.
Narrator: Meet Clara Elizabeth Brown. Parents Heather and Shannon Brown enjoy showing little Clara off. She is their miracle baby.
Heather Burns Brown: It was a Tuesday and I left for work and I noticed that I had a little bit of watery discharge. By the time I got home it was clear to me that I had broken my water.
Narrator: Baby Clara was trying to come into the world at 26 weeks. A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks.
Heather Burns Brown: I thought that I would lose her. I was terrified and screaming and crying.
Shannon Brown: Worst case scenario situations were all playing through my head.
Narrator: Doctors put Heather on bed rest and administered medications to stop labor. And then the unexpected.Heather carried Clara for five more weeks, allowing the baby to continue to mature within the womb.
Ann Critz, MD: If little Clara Elizabeth has been born when her mother was first admitted, she would probably have been very ill, with many more long-term complications.
Narrator: In this country, neonatal miracles are commonplace.Even babies born at 23 weeks have a shot at life, thanks to improved breathing support and medications that jumpstart their immature respiratory systems.
Narrator: But the real solution is to slow the rate of premature births. And that medical science has not been able to do. In fact, the number is steadily rising.
Ann Critz, MD: What mothers need to understand is that sometimes no matter how carefully they are monitored and no matter how carefully they follow instructions, they may go into premature labor.
Narrator: Like Heather Brown. A perfect pregnancy with none of the risk factors. She wasn't over 35 or under 18. She wasn't carrying multiple babies.She wasn't smoking, drinking or eating poorly. She had great prenatal care. And she didn't have a urine or vaginal infection.In fact, it was the lack of an infection that allowed Heather to keep little Clara in her womb so long.The Brown's are counting the days until Clara Elizabeth can come home. In the meantime, they have some advice for those facing a premature birth.Get to the hospital at the first sign of labor and then...
Shannon Brown: Trust your doctors. Trust the nurses. They see this more than you do.