BETHPAGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A baby girl, born 16 weeks early in a hospital parking lot, was reunited Wednesday with the doctor who helped save her life.

They were back where it all began, at the family’s Jeep. Dr. John Mathew happily took in adorable Mikayla Petti.

“She’s God’s little miracle child over here,” Mathew told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.

It was a very different day at St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage from the one in the same parking lot nearly six months ago.

“If it wasn’t for Dr. Mathew and the team here, Mikayla never would’ve come as far as she has,” said Mikayla’s mother, Maria Petti.

Maria Petti knew something was wrong back in February when she was just 24 weeks pregnant. She told her husband, Andrew, they had to get to a hospital.

“We were only a few blocks away from the house and Maria started screaming that the baby was coming out,” said Andrew Petti. “It was in her pant leg.”

Mikayla Petti (Photo: CBS2)

The Pettis wanted to get to a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit, but there was no time. Mikayla had plans of her own. That’s why, instead, her dad instead pulled up to St Joseph near their house, which does not even have a labor and delivery department.

“I ran into the front door and I said, ‘My wife is 24 weeks pregnant. The baby just came out in the car,'” said Andrew. “Everyone’s jaw dropped and they said pull around to the ambulatory bay.”

Dr. Mathew and other staffers rushed outside to meet them.

“We were able to clamp the cord for little Mikayla. I cut her and I just brought her inside,” said Dr. Mathew

“He showed her to me and said, ‘She’s really tiny. I’m going to do the best that I can,'” Maria said.

“I think we resuscitated Mikayla for about 90 minutes,” said Dr. Mathew. “She was a fighter.”

A neonatal transport team arrived from Cohen Children’s Medical Center and brought Mikayla to North Short University Hospital in Manhasset.

“We arrived within 90 minutes of birth, but that’s a critical time,” said Dr. Howard Heiman of Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

Also critical at only 24 weeks old, which doctors say is the earliest a baby can possibly survive outside the womb. Mikayla had successful heart surgery and still has a little lung disease. But, she finally went home in mid-June after 122 days in the hospital.

Doctors expect her to live a long, normal life, thanks in large part to Dr. Mathew, in particular, who tearfully accepted a gift from Mikayla’s grateful parents.

Mikayla’s parents hope she grows up to be a NICU nurse, calling them “amazing people.”


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