No matter how you define “miracle,” little Holden’s story fits the description.

Holden, a child whose life was saved in part by blood donors, was born in December 2020, weighing only 1 lb., 11 oz. — a “micro preemie.” His mom Samantha’s first pregnancy was healthy and uneventful until 23.5 weeks when she had a rare complication called Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM).

Sam was admitted to Women and Infants Hospital (W&I) in Providence — a specialty hospital with the state’s only neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) — and given terrifying news that the baby may not survive at such a young gestational age. After eight days, she went into labor, and Holden also flipped into a breach position requiring Sam to have a c-section.

Jackie Gatlin, manager of RIBC’s Hospital Services Department, explains that for fragile NICU babies, “W&I requires six units of fresh Type O blood each week, ideally fresh units less than eight days old.” The hospital’s blood bank divides one unit of blood or platelets to help multiple preemies on an as-needed basis. That means a little Type O from a blood donor can go a long way with NICU babies.

Holden needed three of these transfusions to save his life because he was anemic and too young to make red cells. These donations, however, were immeasurable to his parents.

“Holden would not be here without blood donors!”

Kara LeBlanc, RIBC Marketing Communications Manager, says, “Our goal is to try to connect Holden and his parents with his blood donor(s), so the family can meet and personally thank them.”

Even though Holden was born nine months ago, he is technically only five months. After six months in the NICU, his mom Sam says he is doing remarkably well:

“We are so happy to be home now. Holden is laughing, smiling, and developing a big happy personality for a little guy.”