The Emotional Story of Our Hero Katja – the Youngest Baby That Underwent Heart Surgery


Choking chest pain, fear of uncertainty, patience, and strong hope are feelings that parents of premature babies must learn on their own. They all unanimously explain that these feelings tear them into small pieces at first, but as each day passes by, they become stronger and bolder. They say they go through a lot, but they get a lot more.

On February 4, 2014, when Marina was 26 weeks pregnant, little Katja arrived. Having 830 grams, the little baby spent 100 days in an incubator. She was the youngest baby to undergo heart surgery, but today she is her parents’ greatest pride.


“As I sit and write this text, a beautiful, mischievous head sinks into my face. She tickles me with her shaggy blond hair and looks at me curiously with her little eyes.

‘Mom, what are you writing? Wait, I’ll read it! ‘

Well, that is my dream come true, my premature baby, now a 5 and a half year old girl, sits next to me as I re-write her story once again.

The truth behind the sentence “having a premature baby” is known only to parents who have gone through this hardship with their families.

None of us are ready for this road, no one knows what awaits us and every story is different. Fortunately, there are people, people like the doctors and nurses from the Acibadem Sistina Intensive Care Unit, who do everything to make that road easier for you.

Katja was born too early, at 26 weeks of gestation. She was born too small, 830 grams in weight and 32 centimeters in length, but she was born greater than all.

Her size is in her heart, in her courage, perseverance and patience.

Katja was our fighter for 100 days and we were all there for her to help her when needed.

But she had to survive first. And she succeeded!

When she was just one month old she had to go through a surgery for heart duct closure and she succeeded again! She became the youngest baby to undergo such surgery in our country.

Then the next goal was for her to become strong enough so that she could breathe on her own. And it seemed like time somehow stopped in this phase… The tube that was in her lungs, the tube that kept her alive, I felt it myself, it was suffocating me. After two and a half months, she managed to reach that goal as well.

Finally, our baby, weighing 1700g at that time, was ready to go home.

Ever since then, Katja has been the light in our lives.

Parents of premature babies, fighting the same battle at the moment, I wish you all to leave the hospital with your child in your arms and a happy heart. Be patient and confident in the greatness of your little ones.

Is it even possible to thank someone who saved your child? Is there such a thing?!

There are many people to whom we are endlessly grateful. Dr. Slobodan Lazarevski, Dr. Gordana Petrovska, Dr. Salis Tadzer and their teams, Dr. Simonida Spaseska, my rescuer, and all the doctors in the Intensive Care Unit along with the nurses who were my child’s mothers when I couldn’t be.

Thank you for making me and my husband Darko a wonderful family with two premature babies, Katja and her brother Gorjan born at 34 weeks of gestation.

Thank you very much, my child, thank you for surviving!” – Marina wrote to us.

On the occasion of the World Prematurity Day, November 17, parents of premature babies shared their life stories in order to raise awareness of premature birth, prevention, and improve the care for these most vulnerable babies and their parents.