In July of 1999, my husband Philip and I went for what we thought was going to be a normal five month ultrasound. We found out we were going to have a girl, and then we got some shocking news. Our sweet baby girl (Kiersten- KK) would be born with a birth defect called an Omphalocele. An omphalocele is described as a herniation through the umbilical cord. With Kiersten, her umbilical cord did not close off allowing her liver and some intestines to herniate through the cord. This only happens in about 1:6000 pregnancies, and no one seems to know why. Philip and I had never heard of this before, and we were scared. We were sent to a specialist, and the news they gave us was not good! We were told that we needed to think about “terminating” the pregnancy. Philip and I both were in shock again. As we left the doctor’s office, we just sat in the car in silence. I kept hearing over and over in my hear “Give me a chance.” Abortion was not an option for us no matter what, and after hearing what I had heard; we were having this baby no matter what the outcome may be. Doctors told us that Kiersten may not make it until birth, and we may lose her at birth or shortly there after.
On November 15, 1999, Kiersten was born, and she was beautiful. She weighed 8lbs 1oz, and other than the omphalocele, she looked perfect. Once Kiersten arrived, the fight for life began. Kiersten spent the first 17 months of her life in Children’s Hospital, having one surgery after another to repair omphalocele and the damage caused her. When we were finally able to bring her home, we had so many readmits. I cannot even count them all. Kiersten was ventilator dependent for two years. In 2004, she was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. It was horrible to see her endure the pain she had to go through. On January 13, 2006, we almost lost Kiersten to a blockage in her intestines. Emergency surgery was done, and another blockage hit her on February 12, 2006, while she was still in the hospital recovering from the January surgery. 2006 was a very hard year for us.
Everyday we look at Kiersten, and we THANK GOD that he chose us to be her family. She is such a strong girl, and has had to fight so hard for her place in this world.
As of today, January 2010, Kiersten had been through about 24 major surgeries. She is a happy, very social 11-year-old, living and loving life! We know we may still have battles to fight, and we will fight them and move on just as we have done in the past. Having Kiersten brought our family closer together and taught us to live one day at a time and never take anything for granted.
We can’t thank enough all of our family and friends who prayed for Kiersten. We thank God, nurses, doctors and ALL the staff at Children’s Hospital who took such good care of her, and for being such a big part of our lives. WE LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!