Whenever Lauren Vinje was feeling low while she waited for her beautiful little girl to continue to grow in the neonatal intensive care unit, the Minnesota mom pulled out this picture.

It was an image of her firstborn daughter at just five days old, weighing 3 pounds, 14 ounces, with a great big grin on her face.

“She was happy to be alive!” wrote Vinje in a post on the Love What Matters Facebook page. “This picture was one I looked at often to get me through the ups and downs of our NICU days. Life is so precious.”

The uplifting photo went viral with more than 46,000 shares, and received nearly 10,000 comments. Parents even began sharing their own photos and stories of their children’s premature births.

“Our oldest daughter was 3 pounds 6oz and 16 inches long when she was born.....today is her 7th birthday and she’s healthy as ever,” one user wrote.

“Our 3lb. preemie is the current world record holder for the fastest solve of a Rubik’s cube...4.904 seconds,” another commented. “He’s 15 now and had a fighting spirit then that has never left him!”

Vinje described her pregnancy complications on the blog Birth Without Fear, on Tuesday, explaining that she started to show signs of preeclampsia in the 28th week of her pregnancy.

After several trips to the doctor, Vinje was put on bed rest.

During her 34-week ultrasound appointment, a doctor told the mother-to-be that the baby’s heart rate wasn’t where it should be, and “she was no longer comfortable with the pregnancy,” Vinje explained in the blog post.

So, at 34 weeks, Vinje was induced. And after several complications, including the baby being breach, she agreed to a cesarean section.

Eventually, she gave birth to a baby girl named Freya.

“The next day our surgeon came in and told us just how lucky we were to have our daughter,” Vinje wrote.

The surgeon explained that her cord was abnormally short, and it would have been too short to deliver during a natural birth.

“She said if I would have tried pushing it would have most likely been stretched too far, and with it being wrapped around her neck would have cut off oxygen,” Vinje explained. “She continued to say that if she hadn’t flipped forcing us to do a c-section, we would have most likely lost her.”

The mom breathed a sigh of relief.

“There were so many things I thought were going ‘wrong’ in the moment they were happening. Looking back, it all went perfectly,” she said.
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