Baby born 11 weeks early home for Mother's Day - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Baby born 11 weeks early home for Mother's Day

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Baby Luke was born 11 weeks early Baby Luke was born 11 weeks early
Tonya and Kris Abeln with Luke Tonya and Kris Abeln with Luke
Tonya Abeln hold Luke's oxygen tank Tonya Abeln hold Luke's oxygen tank
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - For one Louisville couple, this Mother's Day was truly a reason to celebrate. They had been waiting months to bring their baby home after the child's mother developed a serious placenta issue, forcing his birth to happen 11 weeks early.

"You are always moved by a story of sick child, but you never think that's going to be your baby," said Tonya Abeln.

Tonya Abeln and her husband Kris Abeln found out they were pregnant in September 2013.

[SLIDESHOW: Baby born 11 weeks early home for Mother's Day]

Twenty-nine weeks into her pregnancy, Tonya Abeln noticed she wasn't feeling well. Doctors found out she had a serious complication with her placenta and had to have an emergency c-section.

"As many new mothers do now, I've been keeping up with an app on my phone from week to week and I remember the last update I got he would be about two pounds and the size of some really small fruit," she said.

Her baby was the size of a butternut squash. Her due date wasn't until May 17, but baby Luke decided to come into this world 11 weeks early on March 2, weighing just 2 pounds 13 ounces. 

Hooked up to all sorts of monitors and tubes at Baptist Health, Tonya Abeln couldn't even hold her son until he was eight days old.

"It seemed like an eternity, it really did," said Abeln. "I could put my finger and touch him."

Mom and dad spent every second they had in the hospital with little Luke. They even celebrated his one week birthday, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day and cheered on the University of Louisville Cardinals from the hospital.

But no celebration was as big as this weekend. Luke was home in time for Mother's day.

"Just can't stop staring at him, can't stop holding him because of all the weeks we weren't able to hold him," said Abeln.

The little things just seem to mean so much.

"To hear that first little cry, to see that first very full diaper as disgusting as it sounds, it was really a beautiful thing," said Tonya Abeln. "I never thought I would say that."

Luke's biggest struggle right now is his immature lungs, he's on oxygen. With all of the love Tonya and Kris Abeln are giving him, he's getting stronger every day.

"It's a happy ending, this is a story with a happy ending," said Tonya Abeln.

Luke had a check up on Monday and doctors said he was doing great. In case you are wondering, the Abelns are huge UofL fans and Luke is named after former basketball star Luke Hancock.

The Abelns said they wouldn't have made it without the help from the nurses and staff at Baptist Health.    

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