For most expectant parents, those first few contractions are an exciting sign they are about to meet their new baby. When the contractions came more than three months early for Amy and Paul Sikes, that excitement quickly turned into fear.
“When you’re going in to have a baby, everyone's usually excited,” Amy said. “But when the doctors tell you her chances of survival are just 10% or 15%, that’s not the case.”
Mila Sikes was born January 10, 2015 at 24 weeks. The average full-term baby weighs about 7 pounds 5 ounces. She weighed just 1 pound 10 ounces and was considered a micro preemie.
“You hear the word preemie and you think of small clothes at the store – you don't realize everything that comes with that,” Amy said.
After an emergency cesarean section, Mila’s care team sprung into action, hooking her tiny body up to machines and administering medications that would help her breathe, eat and stay warm.
She spent the first 135 days of her life in the NICU at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, overcoming obstacles including brain bleeds, retinopathy, a cerebral palsy
diagnosis and lung damage that required her to be on a ventilator. Each day she grew stronger.
“Mila fought every day,” Paul said. “We had some great days and we had some awful days. It was a long four and a half months but look at where we are now. That's what I try and focus on.”
Today, Mila is a thriving 7-year-old who has not only reached her milestones but is surpassing them.
“They told us they weren't sure if she would walk or talk,” Amy said. “It took her a long time, but once she started walking, the words were coming. And now, she just doesn't stop talking.”
Mila is the 2022 Children’s Miracle Network Child Ambassador for Beaumont Children’s and continues to receive care and support including occupational
and physical therapy and a specially adapted bike from CMN’s Bike Day program.
It is truly remarkable to see how well Mila is doing after a long stay in our neonatal intensive care unit,” said Dr. Fozia Saleem Rasheed, a Beaumont Children’s neonatologist. “I can still recall when she was such a tiny baby born at
24 weeks gestation needing support to breathe and grow. We are all so proud to see Mila growing as a healthy and active seven-year-old. It is an honor and pleasure to have been a part of the care team.
Her future goal is to continue building her strength and coordination, which would allow her to ride her bike independently. She’s starting basketball in the fall, loves princesses – specifically Elsa, and feels “super good” about
her role in bringing awareness to all the CMN kids.
When asked what it feels like to be called a miracle, Mila said “It feels like I’m loved and cared about. I love being happy – my parents are the best parents ever and that’s just how I feel.”