When Jari Lopez was born, he was more likely to die than survive.

Jari was born on February 22, 2021, at just 24 weeks gestation weighing only 11.5 ounces.

As Fox News reports, “Doctors said baby Jari Lopez had a 30% survival rate after concerns of fetal growth restriction combined with mom Amber Higgins’ preeclampsia diagnosis.”

Because of these concerns, along with “reversed blood flow” and Jari’s dropping heart rate, doctors opted to perform an emergency C-section.

According to Jari’s mother, Amber Higgins, doctors had informed her and Jari’s dad that “there was a chance he would not make it.”

“We took it day by day, we saw him in the NICU as much as we could. Dad was able to go see him during that time. He just kept saying he couldn’t believe how small he was,” Amber added.

Dr. Jennifer Anderson, neonatologist and medical director at Pediatrix Neonatology of New Medico, helped treat Jari when he was first born.

She said that Jari needed a breathing machine to survive while his lungs developed.

“Jari’s biggest issue when he was first born was his lungs … The lungs aren’t totally developed when born at 24 weeks,” said told Fox News.

“When he was first born only 325 grams, and we knew at that point he was the smallest baby taken cared [sic] of in our NICU, we knew it was going to be a very, very bumpy road taking care of him … From our perspective things seemed to go pretty smoothly. There were no huge complications.”

When Jari was one month old, Amber was finally able to hold him for the first time.

And after spending four months in the hospital, Jari was sent home on June 29, 2021.

Many people were excited on February 22, 2022, because the date was a palindrome (2/22/22). But Jeri’s family was excited for a different reason. On February 22, Jari celebrated his first birthday.

Jari’s miraculous birth story, and his fight for survival, is a great testament to the reality of life in the womb.

There are seven states across the U.S., along with the District of Columbia, where babies are permitted to be aborted up until the moment of birth.

As Jari’s life so powerfully witnesses, life begins in the womb. There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the value of the life of a 24-week-old baby outside of the womb, and a 24-week-old baby inside one.

Today, Jari is “very, very feisty,” according to Amber. “He’s a little drama king. He definitely lets you know what he wants when he wants it … he’s a solid little guy now.”

And rightly so, Jari’s birthday deserved a little extra celebration. “For his first birthday, Jari [had] three separate parties so he [could] celebrate with all of his family in different cities in New Mexico.”

Happy 1st birthday, Jari!

Related articles and resources:

Hope for Parents of Premature Babies

Ways to Bond With a Newborn

Alabama Baby Named the World’s Most Premature Infant to Survive

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