NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - It was Christmas Eve of 2009, and first time parents Tim and Summer Norman went in for a checkup with still 10 weeks left until the birth of their baby Caroline.
"Everything was going well with the pregnancy and then everything just came to a halt," said Summer Norman remembering the moment everything changed. "The doctor assessed the situation and said this is a very easy call, we are going to have this baby in the next 30 minutes or you Mrs. Norman, and your baby probably won't survive."
For Tim this moment could not have felt more life changing.
"I think it was a lot of faith in the lord and belief in the facility," Tim said. "There was of course an overwhelming sense of fear, because we just went in for a visit."
This was the time Tim and Summer had to let go of the hope for a pregnancy they had dreamed about their entire lives.
"I had grieve the loss of a situation that I was not going to be able to have, I wasn't going to have that moment with all your friends and family standing all around you with your chunky beautiful baby laying on your chest," Summer said.
Instead Caroline was born with lungs severely underdeveloped, and due to the lack of strength she had to be given emergency surgery for a socket in her chest that blew. The doctors installed a breathing tube with little time and no anesthesia."
"She is a true miracle, listening to her little bird cry when she was two pounds just praying I would hear something, and to see a vibrant and healthy child today makes it all worth it," Tim said.
It was the moment they knew their story could have ended more tragically than it began, and it was a turning point for their family.
"There is that feeling of grieving for the loss of what could have been, and it's okay to feel that and to accept that and then it's time to move on. You have to pick up and move forward," Summer said.
Moving on they did. They began finding any way they could to make Caroline stronger. Their journey has not been easy, but it's a story they hope to help uplift others.
"Sometimes life will throw you a curve ball, and sometimes it won't the way you had planned," Tim said. But that doesn't mean the outcome is any less, yeah we were expecting a baby in march not December but I wouldn't have her any other way today."
It's a story that is continuing to be written. Caroline started school and began impacting everyone she came in contact with.
"Caroline makes me a better person, not just a better teacher," said Amber Height, Caroline's kindergarten teacher. "I feel like a love harder, I am more caring, and compassionate because I know her."
She is a wonderful big sister to her twin siblings Madeline and Caroline, and her story is one that touches others' lives in ways that are hard to explain.
"I prayed for God to take care of her, and he did," Summer said.
Caroline will continue to be a living testament for what it means to survive, and her family hopes others are encouraged by their message.
"If there is any piece of encouragement that I could give to other mothers it's that your baby is special and they are here for a reason and your baby is special and help your baby to write their own story," Summer said.