Baby Born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Beats Incredible OddsPosted on December 22nd, 2010 No comments
“He’s a miracle. That’s what it is,” said Melanie Jenkins.
Long before he was born just months into Melanie’s pregnancy, a much anticipated ultrasound turned into a devastating discovery. The question was no longer boy or girl, but instead life or death. Melanie was warned the outlook for her unborn child was grim.
“I’ll deliver a baby, and he’ll die without lung growth. He’ll immediately die, or he’ll be on a tracheotomy, he’ll have a trach, for the rest of his life,” Jenkins said.
Doctors saw a baby with CDH — congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Simply put, there is a hole in the diaphragm, which is the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen, and organs, such as the intestines and the liver, get through that hole and get in the way of growing lungs.
“He was actually the most severe CDH baby that we’ve seen,” said University of Michigan Health System Surgeon George Mychaliska, M.D.
Afraid to even decorate the baby’s room, Melanie endured a pregnancy filled with doom.
“His plan was to basically allow me to deliver Jadon, or to deliver my baby, and allow him to die in my arms because there was nothing else they could do,” said Jenkins.
Or so they thought until Jadon was born.
“It was a beautiful thing to see him, but I cried so hard because I said this is the beginning of the end. That’s all I remember saying. They took him immediately, intubated him, and he wasn’t supposed to get intubated. (The doctor) decided at the last minute that we’re going to try to at least give him a chance,” Jenkins said.
The only thing that kept Jadon alive was the ECMO, a machine that did the work of his tiny lungs — oxygenating his blood.
“All of the blood that comes back to a baby’s heart comes out one of the tubes, goes into the machine, which gives it oxygen and removes CO2, and then gives it back to the baby,” Mychaliska said.