The odds were against her but an Oklahoma baby survived. Four months premature, Emily Rose Hollins left Integris Baptist Medical Center as the hospital's smallest surviving baby ever. That was in July. Now, eight months old, she returned to the hospital to reunite with those who helped her during her first few months of life.
“It was great seeing everybody,” said Melanie Hollins, Emily’s mother.
Nurses at the neonatal intensive care unit took turns holding little Emily on Saturday, who at one time depended on their care.
“It was a blessing to be able to have people you can trust that care about her as if she was their own,” Hollins said.
Now home in her sister Jacari’s arms, Emily spent the first five months of her life away from her family.
“There were ups and downs,” remembers Hollins.
Hollins suffers from a kidney disease. Her condition forced doctors to deliver Emily through an emergency C-section four months early. Underdeveloped, she weighed just over 12 ounces. She couldn't breathe on her own and had to be fed through a tube.
“It's kind of nerve racking,” she said. “It's an up and down roller coaster but you see them fight and when you see them fight it makes you want to fight.”
In July, doctors finally discharged Emily. Now home, she never required any of the surgeries premature babies typical need, and for now, doesn’t appear to have any negative effects.
“She is very determined,” Hollins said. "She's a fighter. I tell her she's a warrior and I tell her she's strong, she's healthy, she's whole, and she can do anything she wants to do, and it seems like she's fearless and like nothing's going to stop her.”
Now it’s Hollins’ turn to fight. Her kidneys are functioning at only nine percent but she says looking at what Emily has been through motivates her to stay strong.
“She's teaching me a lot of things as well,” she said. “Just to not be afraid and you know to just keep going. It's going to work out.”
Hollins is still on the transplant list waiting for a new kidney.