Favorite book or toy: Dinosaurs
I was 35 weeks pregnant with my third child when I suffered a full placental abruption. My son Will was born at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital via emergency C-section and came into the world pale, limp and not able to breathe on his own. He immediately suffered a seizure. The Neonatologist determined that his brain and other major organs had been deprived of oxygen at birth and he was diagnosed with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy. We were told Will would probably not survive his first night and IF he did survive, we were warned he would be severely impaired.
By the grace of God Will was immediately transferred to Tampa General Hospital to undergo Total Body Cooling therapy in hopes of minimizing the damage to his brain. At only three hours old Will was placed on a “cooling blanket” and for three days his body temperature was lowered to 92.8 degrees. Studies show brain injury due to lack of oxygen doesn’t set in for six hours. By cooling an infant’s brain the risk of permanent damage can be greatly reduced. Will was the first otherwise healthy baby to be cooled at the hospital. During the cooling process we were not able to hold or even touch Will. After three days, Will’s body was slowly re-warmed back to 98.6 degrees and we nervously waited to see how he would react. Our family and friends prayed that God would protect and heal Will’s body. It seemed like the whole NICU team was watching and cheering him on too. In the days that followed Will began to wake up from the trauma and medication and started showing signs and behaviors of a normal newborn baby.
I will never forget the day that Will finally showed us his beautiful eyes; he was almost two weeks old. An MRI and EEG both came back with normal results. Will was proving to be a fighter and beating all the staggering statistics and grim odds! 27 long and emotional days later we celebrated his release from the NICU. Although he came home on no medication, we were still cautiously optimistic about his future. All the doctors could tell us was that only time could tell what, if any, permanent damage Will had suffered from his traumatic birth. Looking back on those dark days while Will was in the NICU I am not even sure how we made it through that. I know that the prayers, love, hope, and endless support from our family friends helped us survive as a family. Today Will is a happy, completely healthy 1-year-old little boy. He walks, talks, laughs and is meeting or exceeding all the developmental milestones for his age. We continue to have him monitored closely by his pediatrician, neurologist and therapists all of whom are amazed at Will’s health and progress. Our family is eternally grateful to the hospital and all the doctors, nurses and staff that played a role in helping to save Will’s life. Will is truly our miracle boy and we are so blessed!
What did HRH’s support mean to your family during your hospital stay?
HRH supported and encouraged our family throughout Will’s unexpected birth and scary stay in the NICU. Their constant kindness, thoughts and prayers are what got me through those dark days.
Why do you Trot?
Our entire family, especially Will, is forever grateful to Heather for creating such an important, compassionate organization.
Have a similar story? We would love to hear it!