Ariel Cian Hopkins of Detroit was born weighing just 13 ounces on May 31.
Now, nearly three months later, the child has made tremendous strides of improvement and weighs 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
A moment like this was far from certain for little Ariel. With a due date of Sept. 15, complications brought Ariel into this world more than three months early.
“My heart was broken," said Tia Hopkins, Ariel's mother. "First thing is guilt. As a new mom you want to protect your children, so of course the first thing that came to my mind was 'what could I have done?'”
Assured there was nothing she could've done, Tia made the decision to go forward with Ariel's fate. There was a 50/50 chance that the infant would survive.
Not being able to hold her daughter for months was painstaking, Tia said.
"After birth, when she was born, I was not able to see her," she said. "She was sent right away to the NICU, and seeing her with all the machines, the breathing tubes and everything down her throat."
Tia added that it did cross her mind the possibility of developmental problems if Ariel were to make it, she said.
At just 13 ounces, Ariel was one of the smallest babies on record. She was so small, St. John's had to improvise devices to keep certain tubes in place.
"You think of a Barbie doll, which is 11 and a half inches – she was not the height of a Barbie doll," Tia said.
Surviving beyond her original due date, today Ariel is thriving with no major complications and all of her organs are growing properly.
"She is one of the feistiest little girls in the unit," Tia said. "She is playful. You know she is meeting a lot of the milestones she’s supposed to be meeting. She’s doing very well."
Tia said that she's happy with the decision she made, which has a lot to do with the doctor on her daughter's case, Dr. Papash.