When you first see Ward Miles Miller, you see a tiny baby, his face hidden by hoses put in place to help him breathe. Ward was born three and a half months early at only about 25 weeks’ gestation. He weighed less than 1.5 pounds and needed numerous machines to keep him going. His parents, Benjamin and Lyndsey, didn’t know if he would survive.
His father began filming Ward’s remarkable young life while Ward was in the NICU for 107 days, and he continued to film Ward’s first days home and his first year of life. He then created a touching seven-minute movie celebrating Ward’s first year, which he presented to Lyndsey as a birthday gift, and to the rest of the world as proof of that “the obstacles [Ward] had to overcome were really big, but not bigger than our God.”
Despite the odds stacked against him and numerous complications, not only did Ward survive, but today, he is a happy, thriving one-and-a-half-year-old. He is also an internet sensation. In the two weeks since Benjamin uploaded the video on to Vimeo, it has been viewed 4.8 million times. Viewers have witnessed Ward covered in tubes and wires and cried for this tiny, helpless baby. And then, viewers were able to rejoice as they witnessed Ward’s growth into an active little boy beating a drum, laughing, and eating his first birthday cake. Benjamin told Yahoo Shine:
The response has been great – so many people have shared how it’s touched their lives. I’ve been blow away.
But what deeply affects viewers is Lyndsey’s raw and beautiful emotions as she holds her four-day-old son for the first time. She is unable to keep back the tears in that moment, and every mother is taken back to when she first held her child. The joy on Lyndsey’s face when she is finally able to cuddle Ward at home and play and laugh with him are priceless moments – moments that she probably feared might not come.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year in the United States, 500,000 babies are born premature. That’s 1 in 8 infants. This heartwarming video is a testimony to how precious every single baby is, no matter his gestational age or size.