THOMAS LEMON

How did you first become involved with UI Children's Hospital?

I found out at 19 weeks pregnant that our son had Gastroschisis. We were originally going to our local hospital in Muscatine, but went to UI for the remainder of the pregnancy.

How was your exprience at UI Children's Hospital?

Thomas was born the day before I was scheduled to be induced, about 3 weeks early. They didn’t expect me to make it that far in my pregnancy, so luckily Thomas was a big baby for being a little early (6lb5oz). The defect Thomas had caused his intestines to be on the outside of his body. We were prepared for a hospital stay anywhere from 6 weeks – 12 + weeks, depending on the severity of the defect. Fortunately, Dr. Potter was able to repair the entire defect the day of birth, so we could immediately start working on getting Thomas’ intestines working. On top of the surgery, Thomas was born with an infection and had to have 2 platelet transfusions the day he was born and was put on a ventilator because he had a hard time breathing on his own. Thomas was treated right away for the infection and didn’t need any more transfusions. They weened him off the ventilator, which he was on for about 5 days. The remainder of Thomas’ hospital stay moved very quickly because of how well he was doing. Every day we received good news and moved in the right direction. We were working on slowly giving him more and more milk orally, so we could get rid of his feeding tube. This had to be done slowly and in stages to make sure his intestines could handle it.

While Thomas was in the NICU (which was 3 weeks) we stayed at the Helen Rossi house, which was absolutely amazing, since we lived an hour away. Thomas was discharged on the 21st day after he was born. I remember the discharging doctor said he had been a doctor for 20 + years and only remembered one case where a baby recovered faster from gastroschisis than Thomas did. Thomas is now a healthy, talkative, very busy 2 year old. We are still in the high risk follow up program that UI offers to make sure Thomas is developing as he should, and Thomas is doing absolutely wonderful.

What would you tell other parents about UI Children's Hospital?

Our situation was very scary, but we always felt so comfortable and confident in the care we were receiving for our son. We knew he was getting the best possible care and that made a very scary situation, just a little more bearable. From the diagnosis I received when I was 19 weeks pregnant all the way through the follow up appointments we still have for Thomas, we have had nothing but an amazing experience.

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