Images Captured By Lori Waltenbury Photography
Tiny Light Oliver has a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). A diagnosis such as this one means that a part of his diaphragm did not form as it should have, and the organs that should be found in his abdomen have migrated up into his chest. His family received this diagnosis when Oliver’s Mom was just 18 weeks pregnant, February 8, 2012, a day they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Oliver’s mom knew something was immediately wrong at her 18 week ultrasound. The ultrasound tech was making faces and called her colleagues in to look at the scan. They wanted to know how soon she would be seeing her OB. When they printed Oliver’s ultrasound photo, there was a big black spot in his chest, but his mother wasn’t told anything. When Oliver’s mom saw her OB the following morning, the doctor gave her the news. They suspected he had CDH, but it was possible it could have been a cyst. When Oliver’s condition was confirmed to be CDH, his family was offered the option to terminate the pregnancy, but his family was not willing to take away the 50% chance he had for life.
When Oliver was born, his lungs were unable to grow accordingly and his heart was being pushed over to the right side. His right lung (the lung that should be the largest) was about 30% smaller than it should be. Doctors knew that Oliver would not be able to breathe on his own at birth, he would need surgery to rebuild his diaphragm, and that surgeons would have to relocate the organs to their natural locations. Following the surgery, his lungs were given the proper amount of room to grow. However, there was no guarantee that this would work and that his lungs would function properly. After this, Oliver would still be faced with problems associated to CDH and his surgery, such as respiratory issues, eating and digestive problems, reflux and the possibility of reherniation.
“We feel overwhelmed with all the love. It’s times like this when you can really see the quality of the people you’ve chosen to surround yourself wit, and we know now for a fact that we’ve chosen wisely. I am already so desperately in love with him. All his little squirms and kicks and punches, they’re these beautiful nudges from my little man telling me he’s here, he’s strong, and he’s going to be tough. He’s going to fight as hard as he can. Sometimes they make me cry but I love every one of them.” Words his mother wrote before
Oliver came Earth side. Some CDH survivors are lucky. Once they are past all initial struggles, they can live relatively normal lives. By the age of 9 years old, most issues resolve. All his family wanted was to be able to bring him home, for him to play with his sister, to roll, to crawl, walk, and run much like any other child.
Oliver’s mom shares their journey through CDH on a blog http://tawesson.wordpress.com/ You can visit the blog for more information and updates on Tiny Light Oliver.
Story written by: Kelsey Walker