Each month we donate a portion of our proceeds to a child with medical needs through the Legendairy Littles program. Kathryn is a resilient, spunky, giggly 15-month-old who loves to giggle and play with her stuffed bunny named Ears.
Kathryn was born at 29 weeks 4 days due to Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM). One large risk of PPROM is that the baby will most likely be born within a few days of the membrane rupturing and can be born with serious infections. There are a few risk factors that can be linked to PPROM such as being younger than twenty years old, vaginal pH level, and vaginal bleeding, but in many cases the cause is unknown.
At only four days old Kathryn’s family had gone home to refresh. Her family was away from the hospital for a couple of hours before receiving a call from her doctor. Kathryn’s doctor discovered she had air in her belly, Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). With premature babies, NEC is the most common, and very
serious, intestinal disease. It occurs when the intestines can not hold waste causing bacteria to pass into the bloodstream. Her doctor said it was so severe he didn’t think that Kathryn would be able to make it through transport to a hospital that could perform the lifesaving surgery that she needed. Her parents
weren’t going to give up hope, they arranged an urgent transfer to a nearby Children’s Hospital where she underwent a three-hour bedside surgery to the repair the damage the air had caused. She went on to spend three weeks on an oscillator. An oscillator delivers very small breaths rapidly at 180 to 900 breaths per minute. This can help an infant’s lung tissue by providing constant breath pressures into the airway.
After her need for the oscillator went down, Kathryn was able to be moved to a Ventilator for 11 weeks. A ventilator helps deliver oxygen to an infant’s lungs and removes the carbon dioxide so the infant will not have to work as hard while her lungs grow and develop. The next step in her lung growth journey would be to be on CPAP for five weeks. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. This noninvasive ventilator is often seen as a small, snugly fit mask that fits over an infant’s nose. This is most commonly used when an infant needs a little extra help maintaining their oxygen levels in their blood.
Kathryn had many ups and downs during her NICU stay. One significant downward spiral happened when she was seven months old and suffered aspiration pneumonia during an “unplanned extubation” with aspiration. Aspiration is when something enters the airway by accident. In premature babies, this can be especially traumatic because their airways may be underdeveloped to begin with. For Kathryn, this traumatic event caused her heartrate to drop to six. Her parents stood by as the medical team rushed in to perform chest compressions and attempt to resuscitate her. Thankfully the actions of her medical team were successful, and Kathryn was able to pull through that scary moment.
Kathryn has spent a total of 290 days in the NICU. Although she is home now, Kathryn still requires BiPAP to sleep and oxygen during the day to let her lungs continue to heal and grow. She regularly visits with dozens of different specialists and therapists. It is common for her family to spend very long days
During the month of July, a portion of our proceeds will be donated to Kathryn’s family to help with her ongoing medical needs.