California preemie named after preemie sister who died soon after birth

Baby Faith was named after sister Abigail Faith Stewart who at 18 weeks was diagnosed with a heart defect and lived 91 days. (August 7, 2017)

Many would say there is nothing like a mother's love. For Meghan Stewart of Chico, her story is one of love for her children and one of faith.

Faith Lyla Stewart was born at 33 weeks on Dec. 19, 2016. She weighed only two pounds, 10 ounces, so small her whole body could fit into a tiny Christmas stocking. 

At a few weeks old, she fell extremely ill and had to get three surgeries in a week. She would have to get another surgery months later for intestinal issues. Before she could even see the world outside the hospital for the first time, Faith had to endure getting tubes through her body.

"The doctors tell us she's just a miracle she's even alive," said Meghan.       

The first six months of Faith's life were spent in a hospital bed. Her mother Meghan and sister Elizabeth, 7, stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Sacramento. Her father stayed behind in Chico to work two jobs and support the family.

"We had a lot of rain and bad weather during that. We don't have family close by, so it was just a lot of difficulties," said Meghan. "There were a lot of sad and discouraging days."

This came after the Stewarts already lost a baby.

In 2013, Abigail Stewart was born pre-mature with Esophageal atresia, which meant her upper esophagus didn't connect with her lower esophagus or stomache. At 18 weeks, she was diagnosed with a heart defect. Abigal lived 91 days. She never left the hospital. 

"Just knowing in my mind not every baby goes from here, it was very scary and nerve-racking," said Meghan.

Meghan said when Faith was born, the worst ran through her mind.

"[The UC Davis] NICU staff is just exceptional. We had the same nurse with Faith and Abigail," said Meghan. 
She became a friend."

Meghan said Faith barely got out in time.

"We just strongly felt like the Lord spared her life that very night," said Meghan. "So we named her Faith, after she got really sick. We just, again, relied on our faith in the Lord."

Faith was also Abigail's middle name, named in honor of the sister she'll never know. 

"She just brings so much joy," said Meghan. "She ended up living to that name."

Now, the name will always mean so much more to the family who never stopped believing in miracles.           

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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