After a normal pregnancy, I entered Crestwood Hospital to give birth to my second child. Caden was obviously struggling to breathe, and was carried away for tests. He was then rushed to NICU at Huntsville Hospital. After further testing, we learned that Caden had a birth defect called a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Until that day, I had never heard of CDH and had no idea of how it would affect my precious new baby and our whole family. Caden was then rushed to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham; the only hospital in Alabama equipped to treat children with CDH. He had surgery at five days old to repair the hole in his diaphragm. After spending more than seven weeks in the hospital –four of them on a ventilator, we were blessed to bring him home breathing room air and drinking from a bottle. Not many families who have children with this condition have this kind of success. Even today, approximately 50% of all cases result in death and some children with CDH live with feeding tubes or on oxygen constantly. Though we count our blessings every day, CDH still has a huge impact on our family. For the first two years of his life, Caden had to have monthly RSV shots. These shots are very expensive and are often not covered by insurance. He still needs daily breathing treatments and medications. Because his immune system is so weak, Caden cannot go to day care like other kids; my husband works weekends so that one of us can always be at home. Even the slightest cold is cause for concern.
For us Children's means hope! Without the expertise of doctors and surgeons and the Grace of God, Caden would not be here today. Without a doubt, Children's Hospital had everything to do with that. The nurses and other staff members were so caring and always willing to do whatever they could to make our stay and experience the best that it could possibly, considering the circumstances