SAN DIEGO — Children infected with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are overwhelming hospitals across Southern California, including San Diego at Rady Children’s Hospital.

One mother told FOX 5 her premature baby has been in the neonatal intensive care unit at a children’s hospital in Orange County for 22 days.

“It’s terrifying when you are holding your baby and he stops breathing for some time and then he starts breathing again, but you can see that he’s starting to work harder,” mother Beatriz Barragan said.

She is warning other parents about RSV.

“It was very hard,” Barragan said. “It was very difficult because I felt very helpless. I could not do anything.”

That’s when San Diego-based nonprofit Miracle Babies lent a helping hand.

“Miracle Babies has been a blessing in our journey. Miracle Babies just do phenomenal things for NICU families and one of the things they have done for the NICU community is they create these bags with essentials that you don’t necessarily think of,” Barragan said.

Marianela Camarillo of Miracle Babies says the nonprofit provided her with a care package at the NICU. 

“Comfort items while they are there at the hospital and really the intent is to make sure they know they’re not alone,” Camarillo said.

Miracle Babies helps mothers like Beatriz with support services, essential items, transportation, and parking costs to give struggling and sick families some extra help. 

“Parents were telling us they couldn’t afford to put gas in their car and they couldn’t afford to pay hospital parking fees. So for example, visiting your baby every day at the hospital, you’re looking at $500 to $600 in parking fees. And when parents are having to make choices about putting gas in their car and eating, that’s really unfair,” Camarillo said.

Beatriz says Miracle Babies has helped her with some relief at the hospital and she can’t wait until Ezekiel can finally breathe on his own.

“Yesterday they removed the tube and it was a really big day for us, and today he is a very happy baby,” Barragan said.

Miracle Babies also provides services to parents and sick children in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.