Abigail is no stranger to adversity. Even before she was born, her parents were told that her life would be difficult. On a routine ultrasound she was diagnosed with a clubbed foot and a heart murmur. This prompted increased checkups and monitoring from her doctor. At 37 weeks, it was found that Abby was not going to make it to full-term because of low amniotic fluid and a possible amniotic band that could lead to complications.

Every birth has trials and tribulations, and Abigail’s was no exception. In addition to her doctor being stuck in traffic when she was born, Abby’s bad news wasn’t over that day. After a skillful delivery at Erlanger, doctors found that Abigail had dysplasia in both hips, an imperforate anus, and only one kidney.

Abigail was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where several physicians evaluated each of her medical issues. There were delays, tests, feeding difficulties, and lots of heartache during her 11-day stay in the NICU – but she was finally able to come home.

Getting past initial ailments

The following months were filled with doctor’s appointments. Abigail was barely one month old and already had six physicians. Only two weeks out of the hospital, she had to return every Thursday for eight weeks to get a new cast to help correct her clubbed foot. She wore a harness for her hips, and had echocardiograms and ultrasounds for her heart and kidney. But over her first year and a half, with a lot of help from her doctors, Abigail grew beyond most of her ailments and was making great strides to being the little girl that her parents knew she was inside. She had a long road ahead, but you’d never think that she knew a moment of pain or grief if you looked into her beautiful blue eyes and happy face. 

In the very beginning of 2015, Abigail developed the RSV, a respiratory virus, for the third time. Her doctor prescribed the typical breathing treatments, and she seemed to be getting better. Then on the morning of a neurology appointment, Abigail developed a fever and began having a seizure in the hospital waiting room. Abby’s mother and grandmother rushed her upstairs to the Children’s emergency room where the physicians took over. After several terrifying hours, Abigail was stabilized from her seizure and admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) for observation and further diagnostics.

Finding the cause of the seizure was an arduous task. A wide array of tests shed little light on the problem – and took place while Abby was still fighting the RSV.  After what seemed like days of hope, tears, and prayer, she was put on a ventilator for a chance to get some rest for her weary little body.

During the 18 days Abby was on the ventilator, she came down with a secondary virus in conjunction with the RSV. The combination was brutal on her respiratory system and delayed her healing.

When it was finally time to wake Abigail up, she was ready to play. She was weary from the medication and a bit weak from the bed, but ready to climb a mountain if given half the chance. She was kept for observation for a few days while the bulk of her medication wore off. She had been in the hospital for 25 days.

Shortly after returning home, some physical therapy, and getting back into her very wide groove, Abby was ready to go at it at full steam again.

Making all the difference

Most recently, Abby had an exploratory surgery on her club foot where it was found that in addition to having no ACL, she is also missing several other tendons in her leg. She was back in leg casts for the six weeks following the procedure, and still wears braces on her legs during the day to help her walk. Since her first NICU stay, she wears a brace across her feet at night.

Fortunately, Abby has been released from the cardiologist for two years, has had no problems with her kidney, and has no sign of hip dysplasia. With no further seizure activity, Abby is developing well, and still loves to play.   

Abby has seen almost every specialty in the hospital, and has had two ICU stays in three years. Abby’s mom, Dana says, “While this is something no parent should have to face, the doctors and nurses at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger made all the difference.”


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