The most natural thing a parent can do is to feed their child. However, when children have medical challenges, feeding is a stressful and difficult experience. Sam was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and has undergone 3 major surgeries before the age of 2. In less than 24 hours after he was born, Sam needed assistance with his lungs and heart until doctors were able to correct the hernia which required Sam to go on an ECMO machine. Once Sam was stabilized, the doctors corrected the hernia through surgery with a gortex patch sewn to the side of his rib cage along with whatever little muscle he had to keep all of his organs in the appropriate locations. Sam needed future surgeries to expand the gortex patch as his body grew. He was in the hospital for 2 months before he was strong enough to come home. Sam’s third surgery at 6 months of age was to get a nissen fundoplication due to severe reflux. Much to the surprise of his doctor, Sam was able to miraculously grow a part of his diaphragm muscle with the gortex patch still in place. Sam truly is a miracle child as his nickname at the hospital was “Samuel Strong” for his strong will to live, overcoming many obstacles miraculously.
Today, Sam’s biggest obstacle is eating by mouth. Sam was never really able to nurse or take the bottle without vomiting. He has been fed through an NG tube and currently through a G-tube. Sam is hard at work with feeding and occupational therapists to help him learn the skills necessary to eat and drink on his own-skills which can take a few years to master.
The Gabrielle Dinsmore Heart & Hope Fund purchased a Vitamix blender for Sam. With his food being pureed, Sam now has a more nutritious diet. Blending his food has significantly reduced his vomiting, which makes eating more appealing. Sam will be 2 in October 2015 and loves animals, books, water, music and dancing!