Baby home with family after 160 days in NICU

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 11:15 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - One baby who’s spent most of her life inside the four walls of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Piedmont Columbus is now home.

WTVM first shared the story of Esther Grace Ann Hicks on Mother’s Day. Now, after 5 long months, Alexandria and Tyler Hicks are welcoming home their baby girl.

Esther is getting loved on by all of her family members who haven’t been able to see her since her early arrival on Christmas Eve.

“We are holding a miracle, we’re holding a baby that they said would not be here,” says mom, Alexandria Hicks.

Esther was born 6 months early with 14 different health concerns.

160 days later, she’s leaving the NICU at Piedmont Columbus Regional with only four of the 14.

“We were able to knock out ten of those, we left with chronic lung disease, acid reflux GERD, with chronic vomiting as well, and the last is a whopping case of having to gain weight,” says Hicks

Esther spent a number of holidays in the NICU starting with her birthday, Christmas, New Year’s and Mother’s Day. Her mother says spending so many days in the NICU makes her cherish each holiday more.

“Every single event, milestone is so much grander when you had to fight to get to it,” says Hicks.

Esther Grace is a fighter, beating a 25% chance of survival.

“The things they spoke over here, blind, deaf, dumb,” says Hicks, “She passed her hearing tests, both eyes are fully functioning, she has REP which is just some eye damage from the oxygen and premature delivery and it’s already resolving, and leaving she has chronic lung disease,” says Hicks.

Esther is the first grand daughter of the family so one can imagine the amount of love in the room to meet the baby girl.

“To be able to hold the baby that you’ve been praying for for 160 days, because of the visitor policy, my family was not able to meet her, her brother wasn’t able to meet her until she was home in their arms, so there was a lot of joy, a lot of tears, and a lot of celebration all together,” says Hicks.

Hicks says there’s never been a time where the family felt abandoned or lost hope.

“Realistically, if we were to have lost Esther, God is still good. We’re here today, so God is still good, so I praise him as hard as I did in my storm than I do now,” says Hicks.