Camellia Bass experienced early complications with the pregnancy of her son, Adrian “Chanze.” She began bleeding at 13 weeks and her obstetrician gave her bed rest orders. She was monitored around the clock in a Montgomery hospital for the next six weeks and later transferred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Women & Infants Center after her water broke at 19 weeks.
“They were trying to prolong my pregnancy as long as they could,” she said. “I gave birth to Chanze at 27 weeks, and he weighed just two pounds and nine ounces.”
Although this was Camellia’s second pregnancy, she had never experienced anything like this with her first child. “It was scary,” Camellia said. “I didn’t know what to expect with a premature baby.”
Chanze had chronic lung disease as well as a hernia, chronic ear infections, gastronomy complications and eye muscle weakness. He remained at UAB in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) until he was transferred to Children’s of Alabama’s NICU for further care. Over the next several months, he had to use a ventilator to help him to breathe.
“He was on and off the ventilator. He would be fine and then he would get sick and have to go back on it again,” Camellia said. “After almost a year of this, the doctors recommended he have a tracheostomy so he could breathe on his own.” A tracheotomy is a surgical procedure that provides an air passage in his neck to help him breath on his own.
When Chanze was just shy of his first birthday, doctors performed a tracheostomy – a surgical procedure that creates an air passage in the neck to deliver oxygen to the lungs. At the same time, doctors inserted a feeding tube into Chanze’s abdomen since he was having trouble eating.
Chanze would remain at Children’s for the first three years of his life. “His dad and I were traveling from Montgomery to Birmingham and back to Montgomery for that period of time,” Camellia said. “It was challenging with work and having another child at home to care for as well, but we came to Birmingham to be with him every chance we could.”
Camellia added, “The nurses were so kind and really take time with the kids and care for them. They were so in love with Chanze! They were such a big help.”
When he was healthy enough to go home for the first time, Chanze weighed 37 pounds. Chanze had to adapt to his new environment and to a different schedule than that of the hospital. Although he still has some developmental challenges, he is a happy little boy. He is learning to pull himself up while holding onto furniture and learning to walk. Camellia plans to enroll Chanze in a special school to start speech therapy.
“He is a busybody and loves to play,” Camellia said. “His sister and brother always play with him and take the time to help him walk, eat and things of that nature. He is also a big fan of Mickey Mouse!”