At just 22 weeks pregnant, Natasha Williams of Louisiana went into labor and delivered her son, who weighed just 16 ounces. While the doctors didn’t give Russell Jr. a great prognosis, the little fighter ended up totally defying the odds!
After he was born, Russell underwent plenty of medical intervention to help him breathe because his tiny lungs were underdeveloped. Thankfully, he eventually stabilized, but he had a long road ahead of him in the NICU.
Russell Appold Sr., his dad, said the newborn “was so small he could fit in my hand.”
The struggling infant needed to hit several milestones before he could be released from the NICU, including breathing on his own, maintaining his body temperature, learning how to eat, and gaining weight.
the #1 good news email read by 500K+ people.
Over the course of 133 days, his loving parents were constantly by his side, giving him all the love and encouragement he needed throughout his journey. To their delight, baby Russell ultimately crushed all the goals the hospital staff set for him — and even worked his way up to 8 pounds!
It took a solid 18 weeks of special care, but the precious little one finally became a NICU graduate! As excited as his mom and dad were to finally bring their baby home, it was bittersweet to leave the staff members who had spent so much time caring for their son.
“They are so sweet and became our family,” Natasha explained. “We cried quite a bit when we had to say goodbye.”
The staff grew to love them as well, but they were thrilled to get to discharge their miracle baby! As Russell was leaving the hospital, they celebrated him with a parade, crowns, and cheers!
“As he grows, we will tell him stories of the dedicated nurses and doctors and staff members at Tulane Lakeside Hospital, who helped a 22-week-old baby get to the point of coming home,” Natasha wrote in a thank-you note.
We’re sure they would all agree that no one worked harder than adorable Russell Jr. himself!
Watch their heartfelt celebration in the video below, and be sure to share this story with your friends.
Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.