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April 23rd, 2010
07:30 AM ET

Doctor's love, money help families of 'miracle babies'

By Erika Clarke, CNN

San Diego, California (CNN) - Twenty-four weeks pregnant, Veronica Pacheco went to the emergency room last October with a hacking cough that made it hard to breathe. Tests found she had H1N1 flu, and doctors put her in a coma so her body could continue the gestational process without expending additional energy.

"My life changed forever after that," Pacheco said.

Six weeks later - 10 weeks before full term - her unborn baby's vital signs dropped and doctors performed an emergency C-section.

"When I woke up, my husband said, 'We had to take out the baby' and I immediately clutched my stomach, fearing the worst," she said. "But he settled me down and [said], 'He's OK, he's down in the NICU."

Born 2½ months early, Noah Pacheco weighed less than 3 pounds and was immediately put in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) - a vital step for premature babies but often financially and emotionally stressful for families.

Do you know a hero? Nominations are open for 2010 CNN Heroes

The Pachecos found some relief with the help of Dr. Sean Daneshmand and his nonprofit Miracle Babies. The group provides financial assistance for items such as housing and medical expenses, baby supplies and transportation costs. Read more

Filed under: CNN Heroes
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