'Miracle' Preemie's Early Arrival Saves Her Mom's Life

Baby ToesEvery baby is a miracle, of course, but occasionally the birth of a child becomes extra special. Like preemie Mary Ella "Mae" Purvis, whose early arrival saved her mama's life.

Jenny Purvis knew that her pregnancy was complicated by some cysts, but neither she nor her doctors worried much about them. But when she went in for a routine 27-week prenatal appointment, she was admitted to East Georgia Regional Medical Center for high blood pressure.


She was quickly transferred to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah where doctors were able to keep her stable for several days, but were forced to perform an emergency C-section when an ultrasound revealed that the placenta was no longer receiving blood flow.

"Miracle Mae" was born weighing just 2 pounds, 8 ounces. While she was whisked off to the NICU, doctors got to work removing what they thought were cysts ... but turned out to be tumors. Although Purvis' doctors had thought they were shrinking, they ended up removing two large tumors and most of her ovaries.

The 29-year-old special education teacher had ovarian cancer. "I guess I was pretty naïve," Purvis said. "The doctor came in and said it was ovarian cancer. I didn't think about a 29-year-old getting ovarian cancer."

Despite Mae's early arrival and Jenny's drastic diagnosis, everyone seems to be doing well these days. Mae got to come home with Jenny and Erin Purvis in August and has already quadrupled her birth weight to 10 pounds. Jenny is in the process of receiving six rounds of chemotherapy and an impending hysterectomy. Most amazingly -- this family is just completely grateful for all the love and support they've gotten during this difficult time.

The Purvises' community has come together to help raise funds for the astronomical medical costs the family has incurred. Local businesses Walker Pharmacy, Digital Office Equipment, Kenny Stone Law Firm, and Family Health Care Center are selling raffle tickets for a 52 Gun Raffle -- for $50 per ticket, entrants get 52 chances to win a gun over 52 weeks.

The Ronald McDonald House was also a huge blessing to the family. While Mae grew and got stronger in the NICU, her parents were able to stay nearby. "I don't know what we would have done without it," Jenny said. "I could walk over and see her any time I wanted."

In fact, everyone is doing so well that Jenny hopes to return to teaching at William James Middle School at the start of the new year. She knows that things could have gone much differently, and I love her genuine happiness at the miracles of life and love.

"It's been quite a journey," she admitted. "We've had so much love and support from this community. Even the Ronald McDonald House staff was impressed with all the Statesboro support we received. We feel so fortunate in so many ways, despite the circumstances. It's definitely changed me. I don't sweat the little stuff anymore. We don't take anything for granted. We cherish being home now -- we were away from home for so long."

She continued, "This is not how we saw our first pregnancy going, but it's definitely brought all of us closer ... We're just counting our blessings. I feel blessed that I have my beautiful baby -- our little miracle. We call her Miracle Mae. She came to save her Mama."

This little girl seems to know she's something special, too. Purvis shared, "Whenever we call her Miracle Mae, she just grins."

Are you amazed by this mom's positive attitude toward life and her family after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer?


Image via loiphin/Flickr

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