This was Skyler when she was born on the stormy afternoon of Nov 5 2004 at UH, Malaysia.

She was born at 29 1/2 weeks.

Skyler, 1 day old

Skyler weighed only 1.69kgs and had Patent Ductus Arterosis. She also caught pneumonia a few days after, her little steroid-pumped lungs constantly filling with phlegm.

“Will she be ok?” I’d asked the neonatal paedetrician, trying hard not to cry as I left my tiny little daughter in the care of the hospital’s ICU what we’d thought would be indefinitely.

“These things can go either way,” he’d said, trying hard not to look at me.

58 days later, Skyler was discharged. With the help of meds, her PDA closed and she could breathe on her own. However, she still had apnea and the hospital made me stay a whole day at the hospital, ‘practising’ how to feed my daughter, before they’d let me take her home. My daughter, who could barely fill my arms. I learnt how to flick the soles of her feet to ‘remind’ her to breathe when feeding so she would not drown. How to pinch the bridge of her nose to do the same. How to tell if her face turned blue and to stop, give her time to acquire what should’ve been a natural skill, the ability to breathe and drink at the same time.

This was Lokes carrying Skyler without her tubes for the first time, the night before we took her home.

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She weighed about 4lbs, the minimum weight preemies have to reach before they can be discharged from the neonatal ward.

Today, Skyler weighs about 35lbs. She is a health, robust three-year old. You won’t be able to tell, from the way she screams for ice cream today, that 24 hours prior to her birth, her lungs had to be matured medically with steroids to increase her chances of surviving.

You won’t be able to tell, from the way she INHALES chocolate milk today, that it took my mom and me to feed her together so we would be able to concur with each other that she was indeed turning blue, taking turns to flick her feet or pinch her nose.

You won’t be able to tell, from the way she smiles and laughs and says, “See ya later, mommy!” that she was a preemie.

To moms and dads of preemies, know that there is always hope, even when you’re grasping in the dark, when there doesn’t seem to be any answers that are good enough, when you feel as though that you will never be able to survive this.

Because you will.