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Inspired by Miracles: Meet Braxton


For over a decade, Braxton’s parents, Alex and Brittany, struggled with infertility issues. They went through five rounds of in vitro fertilization as they dreamed of the day when they might hold their precious baby in their arms. At long last, thanks to a donor egg, Braxton was finally on his way, and his parents were overjoyed.

When Brittany was around 24 weeks pregnant, she went in for a routine follow-up appointment and discovered her blood pressure was through the roof. She was rushed to Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, where she was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia and warned that both her life and Braxton’s life were in danger. Things accelerated quickly, and Braxton entered the world at 25 weeks, weighing only a pound and a half.

As Brittany recovered, Alex recalls that “things got scarier” for Braxton.

Almost immediately, Braxton was intubated after water continued to fill his lungs, causing him to stop breathing. Doctors found that he had a heart defect known as patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA, meaning that a pathway in his heart had not had a chance to close as he was developing. Braxton needed a first heart surgery to repair the hole in his heart, and a second surgery to repair bilateral hernias. 

When all was said and done, Braxton spent 4 months in the NICU in a specialized isolette funded by CMN. Child Life specialists used Beads of Courage to help the family document Braxton’s progress. “The Child Life team was absolutely great for us,” remembers Alex. “Their presence and checking in was just amazing.” Braxton’s parents were also able to stay connected to Braxton during his long hospital stay using CMN-funded AngelEye cameras.

Despite his many challenges, Braxton’s respiratory therapists were amazed by his strength and how quickly he was able to learn to breathe on his own. Braxton continues to deal with BPD, or chronic lung disease, but doctors expect him to grow up a happy, healthy child! 

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