When Deborah Sellick went to the doctor for a checkup 22 weeks into her first pregnancy, she thought her appointment would be routine. Instead, she found out she was going into labor, 18 weeks early.
“Basically, they told us to prepare for the worst,” says Deborah’s husband, Matt. With the help of modern medicine and an angled bed to keep him in, Deborah was able to delay the delivery of baby Kayden by nine days. When she delivered him on Mother’s Day, May 13, 2012, he weighed just 1 pound, 8 ounces and was 12 inches in length. “From there, he had some serious, life-threatening challenges,” Matt says. “It’s been such a roller-coaster ride.”
Kayden spent his first 137 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), aided by oxygen the entire time. Physicians discovered bleeding in the brain and three holes in his heart, two of which have now closed as he has grown. “His lungs were the biggest setback,” Matt says. “He was intubated for an extended period of time.” Kayden’s early delivery also made him susceptible to numerous infections.
“We found ourselves making so many hard decisions. To make life-altering decisions for a child is extremely hard and to do it for your own child as a new parent is unfathomable,” Matt says. “We had to leave it in God’s hands.”
Matt credits the physicians, nurses and other staff at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida for their tenacity in helping Kayden heal. “They were aggressive in their treatment,” he says. “They always told us what was happening and possible consequences. They said Kayden had a high risk of lifelong disabilities, but he’s doing extremely well.”