A guest Post by Jennifer Lombardi Story
Hello, SMYS. Today, I would like to introduce you to Baby Jude.
You may have seen posts on the page asking for prayers and well wishes for this little one. This is Paul Pendleton, also known as Baby Jude. He was born on November 25, 2015 at 38w5d weighing in at 6lbs and measuring 18.5in. By all accounts, he was early, but healthy. But for parents Jake and Samantha, that would change after 8 days. At that time, he went into respiratory distress and was taken to their local hospital. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and respiratory acidosis and transferred to Children’s Hospital of Birmingham and placed on life support. He finally was discharged on December 30, after being intubated twice, RSV, a collapsed lung, and necrotizing enterocolitis requiring TPN. He ended up being admitted 2 more times, only for short amounts of time. Things were going well, until March 12. At that time, he was again taken to his local ER for respiratory distress and transferred to Birmingham. He stopped breathing shortly after arrival and was intubated. He was taken of the ventilator at one point for less than 24 hours. His little lungs just could not tolerate it. So what was wrong with Baby Jude? Why couldn’t he tolerate being taken off the vent? What was causing the respiratory distress to begin with? That answer would come on March 31, after a bronchoscopy. Baby Jude was diagnosed with tracheomalacia.
So what is tracheomalacia? Tracheomalacia in a newborn occurs when the cartilage in the windpipe has not developed properly. Instead of being rigid, the walls of the trachea are floppy. Because the windpipe is the main airway, breathing difficulties begin soon after birth. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and may include: Breathing noises that may change with position and improve during sleep. Breathing problems that get worse with coughing, crying, feeding, or upper respiratory infections (such as cold). High-pitched breathing. Rattling or noisy breaths. (source: www.nlm.nih.gov).
Baby Jude was finally able to be taken of the ventilator on April 2, but continued to need support via BiPAP, but that only lasted 2 days. He was once again intubated and his lung collapsed. His doctors said the only treatment option they had available for him was to give him a tracheostomy until age 2. Dad Jake, a RN, knew there had to be other options available for his son. He and mom, Samantha starting researching different facilities that may have more options for Baby Jude. They found one at Boston Children’s. After a few hiccups in arrangements, he was finally flown to Boston on April 9.
We had been following this story for a while as it was posted on the page as a prayer request. After he was transferred to Boston, I paid them a visit and brought them a care package from Show Me Your Stethoscope’s members. My heart absolutely melted when I saw his little face. I was fortunate when I got there, he was awake and alert. He held my finger and I couldn’t help but smile. This little man is precious! No wonder he has a whole town rallying around him back home in Alabama. And now, he has another 680,000 people on our page pulling for him.
His current situation- he is still on the vent and has been since his last intubation on the 4th. He just had a bronchoscopy a couple of days ago which revealed severe collapse of his airways as well as a major artery compressed against his trachea. On Tuesday, April 25th, he will be taken to the operating room at 7:30am to undergo 2 major procedures at the same time. One, to open up his airways by securing them to the surrounding structures. Two, reroute the artery compressed on his trachea to its proper position. He needs your thoughts and prayers now, more than ever. His parents do, too.
So that’s the story of little Baby Jude. Hopefully, surgery will go well and he will not require ventilation support for much longer, let alone until he is a toddler. Boston Children’s is one of the best in the country with some of the best doctors on staff. He is in good hands. If you would like to follow Baby Jude’s story yourself, you can go to his facebook page: Prayers for Baby Jude. https://www.facebook.com/prayersforpauljude/?fref=ts
One more thing to note- the kindness of strangers is a beautiful thing. While on the train, care package in hand- a big metal bucket type thing filled with fresh fruit for mom and dad, Pats and Red Sox gear for Baby Jude, and gift cards for places around town (thank you to all who donate to the SMYS foundation). The Mickey Mouse balloon I had tied on the handle caught the attention of 2 little children, a boy and a girl. Mom asked me where I was going, so I told her. She proceeded to take $20 out of her wallet, had her children give it kisses and put it in the bucket to give to Jake and Samantha. I got a lump in my throat. I do not know this person, she has requested to remain anonymous. But, she is a wonderful person. Shout out to her and her children!
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