Gulf Coast Regional's first NICU baby is no small miracle

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - July 3, family members and nurses at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center gathered to celebrate the life of one little girl they weren't quite sure was going to make it.

Golf Coast Regional Medical Center celebrates Miracle Small's fifth birthday. (WJHG/WECP)

"Her survival right off the get-go, statistically speaking, was about 50%," NICU Medical Director Dr. Antonio Pena said.

Born at 24 weeks, initial concerns for Miracle Small included lung difficulties, a heart defect and an eye condition. Now, family members can focus on the lighter things in life, like making sure Miracle doesn't eat too much cake.

"She's wild. She runs around all day nonstop," said mother Kiesha Small. "Her favorite color is yellow. She likes babies, balloons, and bubbles. She's really sweet and loving."

Nurses who took care of Miracle since day one also joined in on the festivities. Physical therapist Stacy Zediker saw Miracle through to her last day.

"To see them come back five years later, walking, talking, jumping, it's just a wonderful, rewarding feeling," Zediker said.

Miracle's mother says she appreciates every last one of the nurses. "They're part of the [her] family," she said.

It was a proud moment for the hospital and for those who saw the ups and downs of Miracle's first months.

Miracle starts kindergarten in the fall. With the low chances she was given at birth, it's no wonder how the Small family thought of a name like "Miracle."

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