This month, we are featuring our amazing Miracle Kid, Brody Hester! Brody was born at 25 weeks at Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital on July 18, 2017. At the time, he weighed only one pound and four ounce, and spent three months in the NICU. Today, Brody enjoys playing with his trucks, digging in the dirt, and is so excited to be able to run around at Main Event this year! Read below for our Q&A with Brody’s mother, Amberly. 
Brody’s Miracle Story:

“I was diagnosed with an “incompetent cervix” after losing my first son, Noah Ryan Hester at 21 weeks in September 2016. An incompetent cervix basically means you have a short, weak cervix that causes you to go into preterm labor. So when we found out I was pregnant with Brody, my doctor wanted to put a cerclage around my cervix to sew it shut. The cerclage was put in at 14 weeks and I was put on complete bedrest the remainder of my pregnancy.

July 18, 2017 I woke up with sharp pains and immediately knew something was wrong. My husband and I rushed to Piedmont Columbus Regional where we found out I was in labor and would have an emergency C-section. Brody was born at 25 weeks gestation at 6:38am, weighing only 1 pound 4 ounces and 12 inches long. I wasn’t allowed to see Brody when he was born because of how small he was.

At just barely over a pound, it was hard to envision a future for Brody. His skin was translucent and his eyes were still fused shut. His lungs weren’t fully developed so he couldn’t breathe on his own. He had a PDA in his heart and a collapsed lung. He was given a chest tube to help re-inflate his lungs his second week of life. He was severely jaundice and received phototherapy several hours a day for weeks. He had grade 3 brain bleeds on both sides of his brain, he had sepsis, ROP in both eyes, had a feeding tube and received numerous lifesaving blood transfusions throughout his 98 day stay in the NICU.

Those early days were spent counting the minutes, hours and days ― celebrating the little milestones that most parents take for granted. The first time holding Brody took on new meaning as half a dozen nurses worked together to place him onto my chest for what’s called “kangaroo care.” Over the course of several weeks, my husband and I learned how to do typical parenting activities in an abnormal setting. In addition to changing diapers, we learned how to take Brody’s temperature and how to watch the monitors for breathing instabilities.

The NICU can be a scary experience. It’s a world only a select few will ever witness; a place where the sickest babies are given a fighting chance at life and a place my family called home for nearly 3 months. Looking back now, I can’t help but smile and feel overwhelmed with gratefulness. We are so blessed to be part of the Children’s Miracle Network family. You never understand the benefit of a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital until you find yourself in need of one. Brody wouldn’t have been given a chance at life if it weren’t for the remarkable care he received at our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. He is now a thriving two year old who loves trucks and playing in the dirt! He has defied the odds, conquering every uphill battle that has come his way. He’s not only happy and full of energy, he’s healthy! And it’s all because of the generous donations made through Children’s Miracle Network! We are forever grateful for all of you!”

What is the most important thing you learned during Brody’s experience? 
“The most important thing I learned was to trust my instinct, while also trusting Brody’s doctors and nurses. As first time parents, we didn’t know what to expect. It’s difficult sitting at your baby’s bedside feeling helpless, but I soon realized that the NICU doctors and nurses were doing everything they could to save our sweet Brody. As the doctors made rounds, I asked questions. After four months, I felt like I was a walking medical textbook!”  
What is Brody’s favorite activity/hobby he likes to do for fun?
“Brody loves to play with all his toy trucks. He has a huge collection in his room!”
Does he have a favorite tv show or movie?
“By far, Brody’s favorite TV show is “Little Baby Bum” on Netflix.”
What is Brody’s favorite memory from Dance Marathon?
“Brody’s favorite memory is probably dancing with everyone in the crowd. He wasn’t walking just yet when we attended last year. This year he is running around non-stop. We can’t wait to see how he interacts with everyone this year!”     Courtesy of Amberly Hester