FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A mother-to-be was saved from one of her worst nightmares of giving birth prematurely by doctors who were able to keep her baby in utero for weeks after her water broke.

Just about two months ago, Maria Carbonell water ruptured while she was at work. She bent down to retrieve something and began to feel a trickle down her leg. She would experience another trickle that night, and the next day she woke up in a puddle on her bed.

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When she went to the hospital, she was immediately transferred to Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital at Broward Health Medical Center.

“Everyone was so positive, everything is normal,” she recalled.

Since Carbonell’s water broke at 28 weeks, 12 weeks before the baby was full term, her doctors decided to try and keep her baby in the womb for as long as possible.

Carbonell was treated with antenatal corticosteroids, magnesium sulfate, and antibiotics. Studies have shown this treatment can extend the time between the rupture of the amniotic sac and delivery of the baby.

“With the combination, a lot of women are able to keep the pregnancy until the baby is bigger,” said Dr. Adolfo Gonzalez-Garcia, Medical Director of The Maternal Fetal Medicine Department.

The combination has been used before but what is so unusual here is for how long the birth was delayed – nearly six weeks.

Dr. Gonzalez-Garcia says Maria’s positive attitude contributed to the procedure working for as long as it did.

The average length of time for women to hold onto a pregnancy using the procedure is generally three-to-four weeks.

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Carbonell then delivered her firstborn daughter Savannah, who weighed just four pounds.

“I still look at her and it’s surreal,” she said.

Maria and her husband Eric can breathe easier now but the days and weeks leading up to Savannah s birth were
a roller coaster.

“I was petrified, never thought I would be in that situation,” said Eric.

“We can’t believe we got through it,” says Maria.

They turned their hospital room into a home away from home, where Eric slept on a bed next to Maria.

“I felt the switch flip the day her water broke,” says Eric, who tried to keep Maria positive for the duration of the treatment.

Now they marvel at the miracle they’ve created.

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On Thursday, the Carbonells and two-week-old Savannah returned to the hospital to thank all the doctors and caregivers who took care of her.