Baby Eliana arrived home today

January 21, 2015

Today was a big day for Baby Eliana and her family.

Three months to the day after this Ugandan miracle child was born a preemie not much bigger than a pet mouse, she went home.

Eliana was born at a staggering 25 weeks, 15 weeks early, on Oct. 21, 2014.

After being taken off of oxygen recently, she’s back on a small amount.

“And it was a hustle getting the equipment,” explained her dad, Wanyama Wangah. “A family friend, Abby, someone we met at the hospital, kindly loaned us his two cylinders, a connector and pulse monitor at no charge.”

This equipment would have cost about two million Ugandan Shillings, about $750.

“So part of yesterday was spent filling up the cylinders and getting a few medical items. At home, we’ve been busy cleaning the room Eliana is in and figuring how to keep her older but still young siblings at bay,” Wanyama said.

To help with the massive costs of hospital care, the Baby Eliana campaign via Indiegogo has raised $2,500.

As Wanyama said, “We’re thankful for any amount. It’s money that we otherwise wouldn’t have had.”

Thank you again to all who have been following with interest, praying, and contributing.


Even before Eliana’s birth, the doctors shook their heads and didn’t offer much hope.

My obstetrician wife isn’t surprised.

It was earlier today, when talking about fetal viability in a bioethics class for her Save the Mothers students, when she noted Eliana’s miracle story.

The point to keep in mind, says dear Dr. Jean, otherwise known as My Babe, is that in Canada if a baby is born and then dies at such a young age of gestation, it’s called a pre-term delivery, but here in Uganda, because there’s no hope for these babies up to 28 weeks, they’re called a miscarriage.

In Canada, preemies can survive as young as 24 weeks while in African countries the earliest survival rates are possibly 28 weeks.

That’s a full three weeks more developed than Eliana was at birth.

As Jean says, “In Africa, a baby born as early as Eliana usually takes ten breaths and dies.”

The youngest preemie she’s ever seen in her 19-year career, in Canada, is 23 weeks, five days.


You can learn more of Baby Eliana here and here and watch a video of her here.

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January 21, 2015 • Posted in
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1 thought on “Baby Eliana arrived home today”

  1. “The world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
    –Helen Keller

    I shared the struggle of one Canadian family to have any children. No infertility but multiple pregnancies, and multiple miscarriages from an ‘incompetent cervix’. After several pregnancies with nerve wracking surgeries to suture her cervix closed (without rupturing the baby’s membranes) she had several children. . . and at last her mother’s first daughter. She completed her family and permanently ended her chances of another pregnancy.

    Then a horrendous automobile accident “snatched” her youngest from her arms . . . and nearly a son as well. She presented asking for us to help her conceive again.

    “You cannot replace her” . . . (tears in my eyes). She patiently explained that it was not forgetting, or replacing . . . but that there was an ’empty child size chair’ at their table (and in their hearts ?).
    A chair, that (one way or another) needed to be filled.

    I expressed a litany of doubts . . . the reconstructive surgery wouldn’t work. She would scar. She would have an ectopic pregnancy. If not, she would have another miscarriage. Her too damaged cervix was perhaps beyond my ability to repair again. The baby would be born severely premature . . . a tragedy in the making ?

    She insisted . . . calmly, rationally and with constant hope. The tubal surgery worked. She did not miscarry. The suture was placed without membrane rupture. And then at 19+ weeks . . . ruptured membranes with Strep +ve cultures. My heart sank. Possible life threatening maternal infection risk . . . but she would NOT allow us to remove the cerclage unless there was actual sign of infection or the baby died in utero. She “bought” a couple more weeks, before her uterus emptied.

    Her last born was complicated by a cerclage tearing out . . . and infection and ruptured membranes . . . and she was the most undamaged and most premature newborn I ever saw . . . like Eliana ? Folded facecloths were too large for diapers.

    A daughter. Not a ‘replacement’ . . . but cherished and loved new soul (and since grown into a healthy and clever young adult). ‘No heavier burden than a great potential’, I should think.

    “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, . . . and not be weary” Isaiah 40:31 Hurrah for Eliana !

    So sometimes, overcoming a ‘world of suffering’ requires patience and waiting . . . and HOPE ? As CS Lewis said ‘God whispers to us in our pleasures, but shouts in our pain’

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