When Deborah’s water broke prematurely at 22 weeks, the family was
told that Baby Thomas would not be viable. Dan and Deborah were given discouraging statistics about the possibility of life-long disabilities for a premature baby born at 22 weeks, including blindness and immobility, and they were not offered any hope.
Deborah was sent home and told to try to “hold on” to the baby as long as she could since every day in the womb was critical to the overall development, especially of the lungs at such a young age. Unfortunately the Doctors wouldn’t administer a steroid shot for lung maturation because of Thomas’ perceived inviable state. Two days later Deborah went into labor at 22 weeks and 0 days. The Doctors were painting a dire picture, trying to prepare us for the likelihood that Thomas would not survive as it is virtually unheard of at this stage of development. If he did survive the 1 in a Million odds he would most likely have a long road of severe physical and mental retardation, blindness, lung disease, immobility, etc. Dan wanted the Drs to give Deborah something to stop the labor and keep the little guy in utero but the Drs insisted we get Thomas out because they felt there was risk of infection and a risk to Deborah. Well, they got their wish with one little push from Deborah when the Drs weren’t even in the room. The NICU Drs were called down to care for Thomas who came out kicking and breathing (screaming ) on his own. The problem was with Thomas so small (1 lb 2 oz & 11.5 inches) they were having trouble intubating him. Once they cut the tube down and achieved success they whisked him away.
Thomas’ eyes were fused shut the first week of life. He had a collapsed lung, severe brain bleed, and a PDA valve in his heart that wasn’t ready to close, requiring heart surgery at 3 weeks. From the beginning the Drs said the first 3 days are a “Honeymoon” period and Thomas would most likely turn down from there so be prepared. Same outlook at 1 week and 3 weeks but Thomas just kept fighting along with his parents, 8 siblings, and 1000s of friends and strangers praying for Thomas to pull through.
After 18 weeks in the NICU Thomas was released just in time for Christmas on his original due date of December 22nd with no feeding tube or oxygen! The incredible NICU Doctor who was on Thomas stopped by his crib the day before being released and said, “Dan no one thought Thomas would survive, in fact I gave him 1 in a Million. The fact that Thomas is going home on his original due date with no apparent issues is simply a Miracle.” Thomas’ father about fell over with the gravity of that statement! Thomas is now 2 years old today and perfectly healthy. We are thrilled to be part of the Foundation that Friend’s have created to support parents of Preemies in need and are thrilled by the support they will be providing to parents in need during the most trying time they may experience in their lives.