When Ward Miles Miller was born 15 weeks premature, he weighed just under a pound and a half. He spent the first 107 days of his life in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) – and his parents didn’t know if he would survive.
After much uncertainty and turmoil, Ward eventually gained weight, growing into a happy and healthy 16-month-old boy.
Wanting to document Ward’s progress, his filmmaker father, Benjamin of Ohio, spent a year shooting and editing video footage of Ward as he struggled to survive in the hospital. Then as a present for his wife Lyndsey’s birthday, Benjamin uploaded the finished product – a seven-minute video of Ward’s first year of life – to Vimeo and YouTube. So far, the video has been viewed more than 3 million times on the video sharing sites.
The first few seconds of the film show Lyndsey picking up and holding Ward for the first time in the NICU – four days after his birth. The new mom is overwhelmed with emotion as she cradles the tiny baby, who is attached to a variety of wires and tubing.
The rest of the video chronicles Ward’s stay in the hospital, showcasing his growth and eventual departure to his new home. The last few shots reveal a happy, normal-sized baby playing with his toys and reaching up to his mother.
“I want to thank all the doctors, nurses, and staff all over the world that make it their life's mission to help babies get better!” Benjamin wrote on YouTube. “It's because of you that my son ever stood a chance to make it home!”