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Premature baby providing hope during crisis

An Austin couple expecting their first baby this fall had to deliver three months early. Their daughter is providing hope at an uncertain time.

AUSTIN, Texas — So many families are facing challenges made more difficult because of COVID-19, perhaps none more challenging that expectant moms.

One Austin family is proof that even in the darkest of times miracles happen.

Tiffany and Darren Allen found out they were pregnant right before the pandemic. Their first baby had a delivery date of late November.

In August, Tiffany Allen wasn’t feeling well. Diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, her blood pressure began to rise and the doctors were concerned for her health.

“I had a really bad headache one day and I'd been having a lot of swelling,” said Tiffany.

“We woke up at like 3:30 or 4 in the morning on Aug. 11 and her blood pressure had skyrocketed,” said Darren Allen. “The doctors said it was time for the baby to come out.”

RELATED: Reasons to Smile: Born 14 weeks premature, Karter is finally breathing on his own 260 days later

The doctors and nurses at St. David's Medical Center have cared for dozens of premature babies during the pandemic. It is challenging. They have to limit interactions with the babies and often the parents have to take turns visiting their children.

“The doctors told us not to be surprised if she didn't even cry because of how early she was – so little,” he said. “But as soon as we heard her cries, we thought, 'We can do this. She's going to be OK,'” he said.

“I was the first one to hold her,” said Tiffany Allen.

Credit: Tiffany Allen
Tiffany Allen cried the first time she held her daughter.

“It was the best day of my life. Getting to hold her was like getting every moment that I had been dreaming up my whole pregnancy, all at once. It was so overwhelming. I just cried when they handed her to me,” said Tiffany Allen.

Kinslee weighed less than two pounds.

“But she is already ahead of the game. She's reaching all these milestones when she should really just still be inside of me. Today, she lifted her head and she'll put a little bottom in the air. She cries and she will spit up. She does everything just like a regular baby,” said Tiffany Allen. “She's two pounds now. She's just this tiny little miracle. It’s just so amazing. It's such an important and hopeful story to be out right now, for everyone to be able to see and just have a little bit of encouragement.”

Tiffany and Darren Allen hoped to bring Kinslee home sometime around Christmas, and they got their wish.

Days before Thanksgiving, Darren and Tiffany rang the bell at the NICU – a sign that they get to take their daughter home. Thanksgiving was her actual due date, so they are so thankful that Kinslee is happy, healthy, and weighs 6 pounds 4 ounces.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Kinslee's NICU costs.


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