Georgia miracle micro preemie comes home for 1st birthday

When Roxie Phasavath and Alex Phouthavong bring their son Sora back to visit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston it's bittersweet.

Because Sora was triplet when they first arrived here.

"He was the second born, and they all came on Nov. 14th, Nov. 14th last year," Phasavath says.

Loki, Sora and River, all boys, were micro-preemies, born at 22 weeks gestation — much earlier than the average triplets born at 32 weeks.

The first time Roxie saw them at Piedmont Henry Hospital they each weighed about a pound.

"They look like tiny dolls, tiny dolls," says the mother.

They were born so early, their organs hadn't finished developing, so all three were facing major complications, which is why they were transferred to Children's at Egleston's NICU.

They lost Loki suddenly on Dec. 8 - with both surviving babies still in trouble.

"We didn't have time to grieve. Every day, I was getting an update about something new that has happened.  Every day was literally a roller coaster," Phasavath says.

On Christmas, they were able to hold River for the first time. But, on Jan. 2, they had to let him go too.

And Sora was having life-threatening gastrointestinal complications.

"They made it very obvious that we need to get in there. There's something going on. And they had to do surgery - emergency surgery - just to see why he's not doing so well," Phasavath says.

Late at night, Kate Doan, a NICU nurse, would whisper to Sora to keep fighting.

"He would get sick and then get better and then get sick again. And, he would just have a lot of setbacks that would send him back. And I'm like, ‘I just want for you to just go home.’ Just go home! That's the main goal," says Doan.

For 10 months, Phasavath and Phouthavong would come to the NICU after work.

"We would come every single day, just in case. We didn't want to miss anything, in case something happens, and we were to lose him," Phasavath explains.

"I don't know how they did it. They work, so I work nights, and they literally came like 99% of time, every single night, despite losing both of his brothers and working and being busy with things outside of work." affirms Doan.

In April, Sora turned a corner.

"Once he had his last surgery, it was like, 'OK, I'm ready. Yeah!'  And I feel like his brothers were just watching over him the whole time, being like, you know, We're sending you off!" says Doan.

In October Sora, went home, just in time to celebrate his first birthday.

"We are so thankful, we're very grateful that we finally get to take him home," Phasavath says.

"It was bittersweet because I was like, I'm going to miss you so much," says Doan.

There will be more challenges ahead, Sora is exactly where he needs to be.

"It's just comforting to know that he's finally at home. " Phasavath says. "Every morning you can hear geese fly over, and he will start laughing … it just makes you feel good that he's actually happy, happy, happier."