LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Albert Riojas was born at 26 weeks and weighed less than a pound. Without Children's Miracle Network his parents weren't sure Albert would make it.
"I was very excited, so excited to be a Mom, it's what I always wanted," said Yris Riojas. "It's been a ride ever since day one," added Albert Riojas.
Albert and Yris Riojas dreamed of the day they would bring their first child into the world, but that dream quickly turned into a nightmare. "I went from being happy to just real worried, but of course I didn't want to show Mom that - I had to be strong for her but honestly I was real worried inside," said Albert.
On a routine trip to University Medical Center, the Riojas family learned that Yris had developed preeclampsia, a condition where her blood pressure sky rocketed putting both her and her unborn baby at risk. "My blood pressure got so high that one of my kidneys stopped working so it was down hill, completely downhill," said Yris.
And things were only getting worse, leaving only one option. "Just like that, no warning, no nothing," said Yris.
At only 26 weeks, the doctor tells Yris, she's going to have to give birth. "He said we are going to try to keep the baby in there as long as we can, but it looks like he is going to be visiting us earlier way earlier than planned," said Albert.
But what happened next was unimaginable. Doctors tell Albert, he may have to decide between saving the life of his wife or his unborn child. "He made me aware of it that it could lead up to that which just tore my world apart at that point. I just don't know, I didn't know what to do," said Albert.
On December 26th, 2006, Albert Rafael Riojas III was born. "All I can remember is that I was looking at my husband and I asked him, ‘is he breathing?' That's all I wanted to know. Just as long as he was breathing I was fine and he looked at me and he had tears in his eyes and he said he was breathing," said Yris.
A baby's cry you couldn't even hear because his lungs were so small. He was a micro-preemie only weighing 15 ounces. "A Coke is 12 ounces in a can, I was like ok that's not really big, he's not even one pound," said Yris.
And doctors warn there's still a huge fight ahead. "From this point on, he goes it's pretty much up to the man upstairs. He said we're going to do all we can for him, but this guy is so little, so fragile," said Albert.
Little Albert remained at UMC's Children's Hospital for the first four months of his life. "I would ask my husband, ok we're home, we've had a child, but where's our baby. He's not here, he's at the hospital still, he's suppose to be here, we're supposed to be a family," said Yris.
And a family they are. Albert is now two years old and, despite a minor vision problem, he couldn't be healthier. A day his parents and doctors alike had faith they would see. "The doctors had a nickname for him, his nickname was Mighty Mouse," said Yris.
But the Riojas' say they could've seen they're story take a different turn if it wasn't for Children's Miracle Network. "They're the reason why Albert's here," said Albert.
And your donations contributed to his survival too. Money raised through CMN bought these giraffe beds, a crucial tool that aided Albert's growth.
"He's the one that keeps me going from day to day. He's the reason I get up, why I go to work, why I come home. He's just full of life, I've seen how Albert has come over a lot of obstacles just in his two years of life he's probably been through more than I have," said Albert.
He's a gift from God, which this family cherishes every day. And a gift that gives the new baby the Riojas' are expecting, a big brother to love.
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