Almost a year and a half after he was born 15 weeks early, Ward Miles Miller is happy and healthy. But the 16-month-old had to fight for life for months before getting to this point.
His father, 29-year-old Benjamin Miller, captured Ward’s miraculous journey on camera and created a video showing Ward’s transformation from a tiny, fragile preemie half-hidden by tubes to a bouncy, smiling baby boy.
Miller meant the video to be a powerful birthday present for his wife, Lyndsey. He didn’t expect his son’s story to touch millions of people.
The response has been great — so many people have shared how it’s touched their lives,” Benjamin, a Columbus-based wedding and portrait photographer, told Yahoo. “I’ve been blown away.”
The video opens as Lyndsey gets to hold her baby for the first time, four days after his birth. He weighs only a pound and a half, and nurses have to help her arrange the tubes and medical wires around Ward before she can hold him to her chest.
She begins to cry as she looks down at him.
“I felt the same way watching — so happy, but then it sort of sets in what’s happening,” Benjamin told Yahoo. “I definitely cried while I was making [the film]. There’s a moment here when the camera is shaky, but I didn’t want to cut it, because it wasn’t about the perfect moments.”
The 7-minute film follows Ward as he learns how to breathe and eat by himself, as he is allowed to leave the NICU after 107 days, as he eats cake on his first birthday and as he grows into a laughing, happy baby boy.
“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! It’s because of you that my son ever stood a chance to make it home!” Benjamin wrote in the video’s introduction.