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Utah toddler is home in South Jordan after nearly 3 years, 5 months in hospital

By Heather Simonsen, KSL TV | Posted - Feb. 2, 2019 at 9:20 p.m.

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SOUTH JORDAN — A Utah preemie is home in South Jordan after nearly 3 years and 5 months in the NICU.

V Thipsouvan’s birthday wish is about to come true.

“The best birthday present I could ever ask for,” she said.

The gift was 1,237 days coming — that’s how long her baby has been in the newborn intensive care unit.

Zariah was born at 23 weeks and 6 days, with the worst possible complications. Doctors at one point said she had zero chance of surviving. A lengthy stay at a specialized unit at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio followed, meaning years of separation for her family.

Two weeks ago, Zariah flew back to Utah. She’s been at Primary Children’s Hospital since then. But on this day, she’s coming home where her little sister, Raven, is waiting.

“My sis!” said Raven Donovan, Zariah’s 4-year-old sister.

As medical staff brought Zariah into the house on a stretcher.

“Just knowing that she’s going in there and it’s for good, it’s impossible to describe my feelings," Thipsouvan said.

All four family members were inside the house together for the first time ever. And finally, Raven got to play with her baby sister at home.

“I’ll let her play with all my toys in here,” Raven said.

Thipsouvan said, “She’s where she’s meant to be: home.”

Zariah’s mother got her birthday wish: Her family all together under one roof.

“And nothing’s ever going to beat this gift for the rest of my life,” Thipsouvan said. Zariah and her dad, Shawn Donovan, leaned in together for a kiss.

Zariah, born at 23 weeks and 6 days, is home is South Jordan after nearly 3 years and 5 months in the NICU. Photo: KSL TV

Zariah will be on a home ventilator for 1 to 2 years. The key will be keeping her healthy. Even the common cold could send her back to the hospital.

If you’d like to help out with medical expenses, visit the GoFundMe page*, and follow their story at

* does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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