JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Each year, 400,000 babies are born premature in the U.S. Right now, one of those special tiny babies is in a Jacksonville hospital.
Baby Lyriq was born weighing only one-pound. Dawn Lopez sat down with Lyriq she gives us a very personal look as this local family strives to thrive.
It's a lonely club parents suddenly find themselves a member of when babies are born so early, they're called micro-preemies.
Dawn Lopez recalls how 11 years ago, her twins were born at not even 7 months. She found the parents of Jacksonville's tiniest resident were happy to share with someone who understands their hope and their hurt.
Lyriq: When her parents heard they were having a girl, they say it was music to their ears.
"Her room is ready, we just need her," said mom Channing Finch.
Channing Finch has her daughter's room all ready, with splashes of pink, enough clothes for a few newborns and a basketful of stuff animals, some bigger than Lyriq is.
Channing and little Lyriq's dad, Patrick Lourcey, took Action News' GoPro camera into the neonatal intensive care unit at Wolfson Children's Hospital to share images of their miracle.
"It's like, 'oh my, she's almost as big as my hand!'" said Patrick
Lyriq is now a month old and 2 pounds; she was 1 pound and a few ounces when she was born.
She's very fragile and every day is a fight to grow and get stronger.
"We had no complications until the day she was born. The doctor said she had to get out now," Channing Finch said.
Channing was only 28 weeks pregnant, Lyriq was struggling to grow and there was also no amniotic fluid to protect her.
"You feel lost, cause there's nothing you can do in the moment for the both of them," Patrick Lourcey said.
Dawn recalls the feeling well, as she was in the Finch's shoes 11 years ago.
UF Health Jacksonvlle and Wolfson's are the only facilities in the region to treat micro-preemie babies like Lyriq.
One of the diapers of Dawn's twins fit in the palm of her hand after they were born.
She allows her children's picture to remain in the Hall of Hope at UF Health Jacksonville, as an encouragement to other parents going through the same thing.
Parents of micro-preemies ride a roller coaster of emotion. Most babies are on oxygen or ventilators.
Growing outside the womb means an increased risk of brain bleeds, eye, lung and intestinal problems.
It could be another two to three months before Lyriq gets big enough to come home, not soon enough for her big brother Zayden.
For now, this family waits patiently and each day Lyriq fights to write the words, to her life's song.
"She's going to be something big for this world, I think she's a major miracle," Patrick said.
There's a huge show of support on Facebook for baby Lyriq. Her page is called Hope for Lyriq. It's been a comfort for her parents.
Another big encouragement for the Finch family is pictures of Dawn's twins. Thanks to modern technology and a lot of prayers, they're now 11 and happy and healthy.