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Photos: 1.5 pound baby's first year

Born 3.5 months early, Ward Miles Miller weighed only 1 pound, 13 ounces. Born 3.5 months early, Ward Miles Miller weighed only 1 pound, 13 ounces.
The Millers couldn't hold Miles for the first four days of his life. Instead, Benjamin Scot Miller holds his son's tiny hand, letting Ward know he isn't alone. The Millers couldn’t hold Miles for the first four days of his life. Instead, Benjamin Scot Miller holds his son’s tiny hand, letting Ward know he isn’t alone.
Benjamin and Lyndsey Miller spend time with their son in the NICU at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Benjamin and Lyndsey Miller spend time with their son in the NICU at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Lyndsey Miller looks adoringly at her son in the NICU while she cradles his tiny head surrounded by tubes and wires. Lyndsey Miller looks adoringly at her son in the NICU while she cradles his tiny head surrounded by tubes and wires.
"One doctor told us straight up the first night that there was a 50-50 chance that he would be normal," said Benjamin Miller, a professional photographer. "We definitely prayed and prayed."“One doctor told us straight up the first night that there was a 50-50 chance that he would be normal,” said Benjamin Miller, a professional photographer. “We definitely prayed and prayed.”
The early birth wasn't Ward's only challenge. At 10 days old, a scan revealed blood in his brain tissue. His father remembers crying and praying the whole way to the hospital that day. "And then you get there and you see him, and he's laying there. He's still the same old self," Benjamin Miller said. The early birth wasn’t Ward’s only challenge. At 10 days old, a scan revealed blood in his brain tissue. His father remembers crying and praying the whole way to the hospital that day. “And then you get there and you see him, and he’s laying there. He’s still the same old self,” Benjamin Miller said.
Ward spent the first 107 days of his life in the NICU at Nationwide Children's Hospital.Ward spent the first 107 days of his life in the NICU at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Lyndsey Miller kisses her son's tiny head. Lyndsey Miller kisses her son’s tiny head.
Once the Millers were able to hold their son, his dad says it was hard to let go. They spent as much time with Ward in the NICU as the hospital allowed. Once the Millers were able to hold their son, his dad says it was hard to let go. They spent as much time with Ward in the NICU as the hospital allowed.
Ward finally got to go home after spending more than 100 days in the NICU. "Everything was leading up to that day, and to have him there was amazing, " his dad told CNN.Ward finally got to go home after spending more than 100 days in the NICU. “Everything was leading up to that day, and to have him there was amazing, ” his dad told CNN.
Dad and son take a nap at home.Dad and son take a nap at home.
Today, Ward is 16-months-old and has no major health issues, except for an inflammation in his throat. Today, Ward is 16-months-old and has no major health issues, except for an inflammation in his throat.
"All the doctors who meet him and we say he was 15 weeks early, they just can't believe it," Benjamin Miller said. "He doesn't even look like he was a preemie."“All the doctors who meet him and we say he was 15 weeks early, they just can’t believe it,” Benjamin Miller said. “He doesn’t even look like he was a preemie.”
Ward gets a ride on his dad's shoulders.Ward gets a ride on his dad’s shoulders.
Benjamin Miller tells CNN that his 16-month-old son is thriving and on track developmentally with his age group. Benjamin Miller tells CNN that his 16-month-old son is thriving and on track developmentally with his age group.
Ward watches football with his dad from the comfort of their living room. Ward watches football with his dad from the comfort of their living room.
Ward gives a big gummy smile to the camera. His dad keeps a close eye on his son from behind. Ward gives a big gummy smile to the camera. His dad keeps a close eye on his son from behind.
Ward runs around the house in his walker like a normal toddler.Ward runs around the house in his walker like a normal toddler.
Ward examines himself in the mirror.Ward examines himself in the mirror.
Lyndsey Miller gives her son a big kiss in his batman pajamas. Lyndsey Miller gives her son a big kiss in his batman pajamas.
Ward's parents think he's a superhero, so it's only fitting he wears batman pajamas. Ward’s parents think he’s a superhero, so it’s only fitting he wears batman pajamas.
Today Ward is a happy and mostly healthy little boy. Today Ward is a happy and mostly healthy little boy.
A chunky 16-month-old Ward Miles Miller is thriving. A chunky 16-month-old Ward Miles Miller is thriving.

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  • Benjamin Miller made a video of his son’s first year of life
  • Ward was born 15 weeks early and had bleeding in his brain
  • Ward Miles Miller is now mostly healthy

(CNN) — Benjamin Scot Miller and his wife, Lyndsey, didn’t expect to be parents on July 16, 2012.

The Ohio couple’s son wasn’t due for another 3½ months. But the cramps that Lyndsey felt that day at work were actually contractions. Doctors could not stop the baby from being born that day.

Ward Miles Miller was a delicate 12 inches long. He weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces, but soon dropped to 1 pound 7 ounces.

This viral video will make you cry

“One doctor told us straight up the first night that there was a 50/50 chance that he would be normal,” said Benjamin Miller, a professional photographer. “We definitely prayed and prayed.”

Dad chronicles baby born 15 weeks early

Miller captured some of the key moments in Ward’s journey and stitched them together in a video running almost seven minutes long, now hugely popular on Vimeo.

Watch the video of Ward’s first year

Miller’s footage shows how Lyndsey Miller first held her son, at 4 days old, when Ward was covered in tubes and cords. Hospital staff helped position the baby and the medical equipment so he could nestle against his mother’s chest.

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In the video, Ward’s mother looks straight at the camera and smiles, gently stroking the baby, then suddenly tilts her head down and covers her mouth with her hand in a flood of tearful emotion.

The early birth wasn’t Ward’s only challenge. At 10 days old, a scan revealed blood in his brain tissue, meaning blood had gotten in there at some point. His father remembers crying and praying the whole way to the hospital that day.

“And then you get there and you see him, and he’s laying there. He’s still the same old self,” he said. “We just felt so bad. He has no control over this. It’s not his fault.”

Over time, the bleed didn’t grow, and the blood was slowly reabsorbed by the brain. The problem has not persisted.

Ward finally got to go home after spending more than 100 days in the NICU at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “HOME” is displayed in large capital letters in the video.

“When we finally brought him home, it was amazing,” Miller said. “That was the day. Everything was leading up to that day, and to have him there was amazing. It was how it was supposed to be from the get-go. We had to wait 107 days before we could experience that, so it was just amazing.”

Miller had originally wanted to prepare a video for his son’s first birthday, but after that day went by, he found the next best opportunity: October 31, the anniversary of Ward’s homecoming and one day before Lyndsey’s birthday.

The video found a large audience online; it’s been watched more than 3.6 million times.

“It’s definitely spreading awareness about NICUs,” Ward’s dad said. “People have no idea … that there are these NICUs with these babies holding on and parents scared out of their wits, and it’s going on every day all around the nation.”

The main comments Miller has been getting on the video are from other fathers who sharing their stories. Miller is struck by how similar their tales are.

“Pretty much everyone is saying, like, ‘That was me. This video could have been me. That is exactly what I went through,’ ” Miller said.

Today, Ward is technically 16 months old, but since he wasn’t supposed to be born until October 27, 2012, he seems just over a year old, Miller said.

“All the doctors who meet him and we say he was 15 weeks early, they just can’t believe it,” Miller said. “He doesn’t even look like he was a preemie.”

It’s possible that the brain bleeding could result in problems later on, Miller said, but so far Ward doesn’t need any speech or physical therapy.

“He just had his 15-month developmental assessment, and he’s right on track with his age group,” he said.

The child has no major health issues except for one: an inflammation in his throat. He sometimes vomits once every two days, which may be related to an allergy, but the family isn’t sure. They have “a great doctor” helping, though, Miller said.

Ward has seen the video on his mother’s iPad and likes watching himself, Miller said.

“But yeah, he doesn’t understand it,” Miller said, “and it’s not going to be until he’s probably 16, 17, 18 that it really sets in, what’s happened.”



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