Big Things Come In Little Packages: From a 15 ounce baby to a thriving toddler

Before having my second child, I didn’t know much about preemies, and I knew zero about micro preemies. All that would come to mind when I heard the word “preemie” was an adorable teeny tiny baby and clothes small enough to fit a Build-A-Bear. Little did I know that I would be chosen to be a preemie mom with my second child.

I had my first son in February 2008. My pregnancy was normal up until 30 weeks or so when my blood Liam edited 1-1-1pressure started to creep up. Before I knew it, I was put on bed rest and doing 24 hour urine catches. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. Luckily, we were able to hold off inducing until 37 weeks and my adorable son Noah was born into this world at a small, but healthy, six pounds.

My husband  and I always knew we would have another child. I spoke with my OB/GYN about the risks of developing preeclampsia again. She said I did have a higher risk of developing it again, but some mothers don’t have it in subsequent pregnancies so we decided to go for baby #2. After two miscarriages and actively trying for a year, we were very excited to be pregnant again!

From the start, my pregnancy wasn’t an easy one. Early on, I began spotting and had to take progesterone supplements until I hit the second trimester. Then I began developing high blood pressure shortly after. I was put on blood pressure medicine in hopes to keep it under control. Besides my blood pressure being high, everything was fairly normal until my 20 week ultrasound. At that time, it was discovered that the baby was measuring very behind, and I was then referred to a high risk doctor.

My high risk doctor did a panel of blood work (19 vials to be exact, OUCH!) and the results showed that I had a blood clotting disorder but everything else was normal. I was monitored weekly and the baby was growing, but just at a very small pace. I had many ultrasounds, and my doctor was just stumped as to why my baby was so small.IMG_1927 The baby had reverse blood flow and was severe IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction). Since I knew I’d be having an early delivery, I was given steroid shots to help the baby’s lungs develop.

At 27 weeks and 6 days, after an ultrasound, my high risk doctor decided that day was the day for delivery. Even though I was on bed rest and had repeatedly been told that “any day could be the day,” I was still in complete shock. I didn’t know what to expect and saying I was scared was an understatement. She called my OB at 12:25 p.m. and my micro preemie Liam was born at 1:11 p.m., weighing right under a pound at 15 ounces and measuring 11 inches.

The first few days of our new journey I was beyond myself. I didn’t know what emotions to feel or how to react. I was scared and nervous but so hopeful for Liam. I kept on thinking to myself that God had sent my family a miracle, and we just had to be patient and watch this miracle unfold.

Photo by Christie Froom Photography

I’m not a patient person and am a total planner, and these traits aren’t good ones to have while being in the NICU. I was told that my best guess of a discharge date would be my due date, which was January 5. The days were long, and the weeks dragged on. If I wasn’t at the NICU, then I was found pumping or taking care of my other son Noah. I think I aged many years during his NICU stay.

Although sometimes those 101 days in the NICU seem like they just happened yesterday, Liam is now 17 months old and my happy, healthy boy brings me so much joy every day. Having my micro preemie opened my eyes up to the thousands of preemie babies born every year and inspired me to become active in helping other preemie moms and their families. I have become dedicated to the March of Dimes and love participating in their annual March for Babies. Last year, Liam weighed in at 8 pounds at the time of the walk; this year, he will be walking alongside his family and friends (well, at least for a small portion!).  I can’t wait to see the other preemie babies who walked last year, and I can’t wait to show off the progress Liam has made. The saying “big things come in small packages” may be cliché, but one look at my Liam and you know it’s true!

Want to read more about Mary’s story?

Pumping for a Preemie: Regaining Control and Establishing a Connection

Finding Friendships in Unexpected Places

An Interview With a Big Brother of a Preemie

Want to read more about premature babies?

It Is Possible To Carry To Full Term After A Preemie

Reflecting On our Time in the NICU

Faith, Peace, and Love: Our NICU Journey

Challenges Encountered with Preemies and Sleep

Feeding a Preemie: The Challenges of Pumping

Two is Our Lucky Number: Welcoming Cooper & Grant at 31 Weeks


Mary Olivio

olivio-76Mary is a stay at home mom to her sons, Noah (5) and Liam (1) and has been married to her high school sweetheart Clint since 2007. Mary is a graduate of the University of New Orleans, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism. Her son Liam is a micro preemie, and she is now passionate in the preemie community and the March of Dimes. Mary is also active with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and is a co founder of the VLW Scholarship at her alma mater Cabrini High School in New Orleans, which awards a scholarship yearly in memory of their dear classmate who was killed by a drunk driver. Mary enjoys blogging about her family, New Orleans and all things preemie related on her blog at Micropreemie Mom.


  1. Unfortunately I know a handful of parents to micropremies but each time I read a new story I get emotional and hold my breath for a happy ending. I am sooo glad that he is a happy, healthy boys and you are doing so many positive, encouraging things to celebrate it and support others.

  2. My daughter was not a micro-preemie, but she was 5 weeks early, and weighed in at 5 lb. 6oz.. She threatened to come at 32 weeks, and we were told to prepare for a 2 lb. baby. We were blessed that she was able to come home 2 days after birth, but are very well aware that she could have had problems. Now she’s almost 10, and you’d never know she was a preemie. I joke that she just felt like she’d run out of room in there.

  3. Hi Mary,

    My name is Allison and I am the administrator to a Facebook page called “I Am Pro-Life” ( A friend at Focus shared your story with me and I know that our fans will LOVE it! I just wanted you to know in case you saw a huge amount of traffic to your page. If you have ANY questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail us at [email protected]. Many blessings to you and your sweet family.


    Allison Guthrie

  4. As I mom of 2 preemies and 1 micro-preemie. I can totally appreciate what you went through. My oldest was born @ 24 weeks and weighed 1 lb 5 ozs, she was 12 inches long. Mercifully, she was only in the hospital for 2.5 months, totally shocking her doctors with her progress. She’s now a happy healthy 13 year old girl and we are FINALLY done with the weight checks and constant monitoring. Her father and I are amazed every day by her progress. God bless you and your family on this journey with your little blessing and joy, Liam. <3

  5. My little sister who is now 20 years old was born as a micro preemie baby too! She was born the first day of the 22nd week, 15 Oz. and 10 inches long. The doctors tired to get my mom to abort her but she would not. My sister came home in June of that year on her due date but was on oxygen and wore doll clothes for a long time! The doctors said she would be blind, unable to walk etc. She wears glasses and has slight cerebral pulsey but none of their predictions came true! Later in life she had another scare as she came down with a blood clotting problem and had hardly any platelets in her blood. She made it through by a miracle. I really believe God has a plan for her life and she is thinking of someday writing a book about her start in life! Thanks for sharing about your baby!

  6. Mary, now that I know you and we have chatted, this story is SO AMAZING to me! What a beautiful blessing Liam is! I can’t wait to see all of the details for his 2nd birthday party!

  7. Amazing story, Mary. I am very empathic about Liam and your family because our family has been dealing with a miracle baby of our own. My great niece Olivia was born in November 2011 with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). HLHS is a rare congenital heart defect in which the left ventricle of the heart is severely underdeveloped. She underwent her 3rd open heart surgery in August 2013 and, like Liam, great things do come in small packages! We should get these two miracle babies together some time. I love how you have embraced the challenges you had to face to help others.

  8. I have walk in your shoes at 26weeks I had a baby boy at 1lb 11ounces on April 10,1988 he’s 26 yes old in good health high school grad. College degree’s a very smart young man by the grace of god and keeping the faith


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