SAN ANTONIO – Several months ago, KSAT 12 News got in touch with a San Antonio couple who had their premature baby while on vacation in Greece. They were stranded there and running out of money. Many KSAT viewers came to the rescue with donations. Now that the family is home safe, they credit their return to the love of strangers.
A happy, healthy baby, Mia giggled on the couch with her parents Karinna Martell and Yandi Villalonga. Life is good, but it didn't start out that way.
"I was about 22 weeks pregnant and went to the doctor two days before traveling, he checked everything and was like, 'You're perfect to travel.'" Martell said.
Two days into their "baby-cation" in Greece, Martell started to have some bleeding and felt very sick. Doctors at an Athens hospital said she was already five centimeters dilated.
"They told me, 'You can go into labor at any time. You cannot go anywhere,'" she said.
After three weeks of bed rest for Martell, little Mia made an early entrance.
"This precious little thing was born at 26 weeks," Martell said, smiling down at a fidgeting Mia. "It was very scary. It wasn't our country, not our language. We were very afraid because we didn't know if she was going to make it."
Mia was too fragile to travel, so Martell and her husband had to find an apartment. Villalonga couldn't work on the current visa, so rent, food, and medical bills piled up. They spent their entire savings and were surviving on money sent from friends, family and coworkers.
"Donations and fundraisers and also garage sales," Villalonga said. "My company I work for, they raised a lot of money for us."
Word quickly began to spread and complete strangers began to fuel the numbers on the family's Go Fund Me page. After they raised $5,000, they were able to buy plane tickets and pay a doctor to travel home with them.
"We flew from Greece to Canada to Houston. We were very scared at the beginning, but she was able to make it and we didn't have anything happen to her," Villalonga said.
As soon as little Mia got home, she was introduced to about 10 doctors who all gave her a big thumbs up. They said she is doing great and is very healthy.
Mia was even able to be baptized on Sunday. There are still lots of medical bills to pay, but the couple said that will be taken care of over time. For the first time in eight months, the couple said everything is starting to feel normal. They feel like they owe that to the people of San Antonio.
"Our little miracle was able to survive because of the prayers from everybody, and we're really really happy and we want to thank every single person who helped," Martell said.
"She's going to have a story to tell," Villalonga said with a chuckle.
That story has a very happy ending.