Zariah’s story began with preterm labor at 23 weeks and 3 days. At each medical facility, the providers continually stressed that Zariah was not considered viable and strongly advised against full medical intervention. After being transferred to 3 different facilities, Zariah entered the world at 23 weeks and 6 days, weighing 1lb 6oz. At this gestational age, we were given a 15% chance of survival. There would be a high probability of blindness, hearing loss, physical impairment, cognitive impairment, Cerebral Palsy, increased infection risk, brain bleeds, and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
Our NICU journey has been a roller coaster. Our little fighter has endured and conquered many trials over the last 18 months. She has triumphed over heart surgery at 3 weeks of age, pneumonias, 12 blood transfusions, sepsis, and lung collapse. Throughout our journey, we have been told countless times that she was not going to make it. In April 2016, we were informed that Zariah had the worst case of Chronic Lung Disease the hospital had seen and her chance of survival was 0%.
What the providers forgot was that Zariah is a living, breathing miracle! She has beaten the odds! Zariah has not had any brain bleeds or necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). She reversed the Retinopathy of Prematurity and visually tracks very well. Zariah has no hearing loss. She recognizes Mommy, Daddy & Grandma!
After being given no chance of survival in Utah, we chose to give Zariah every opportunity to thrive. Zariah & Dad transferred to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. This 1700 mile move gave Zariah a 96% chance of survival. Zariah went from a medically paralyzed and sedated baby to a smiling, interactive, thriving child!
As of March 2nd, Zariah is now off all sedating medications, which allows us to optimize developmental therapies. Zariah has come so far, but still has many challenges to overcome. She has oral aversion from being intubated for 6 months. She becomes agitated and gags at everything near her mouth. She is working on sitting up and has learned to rock herself. Our future holds extensive speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
As a family, the distance has been quite difficult. Our 2 income household is now a 1 income household. Mom must stay in Utah to maintain insurance coverage. Older sister asks for Daddy and Zariah everyday! Family interaction is absolutely vital for Zariah’s development. Mom tries to visit as much as possible, but due to financial responsibilities visits are occurring once monthly. Mom treasures every second with Zariah. Thankfully, dad is staying at the Columbus Ronald McDonald.
Please help Zariah see Mom, Sister, & Grandma. Please give us the gift of family interaction, which is crucial for her development. Please help our miracle continue to thrive.
Zariah’s strength and perseverance has been life changing to so many! We are so blessed to call her our daughter. Her light and strength lifts us up during the unbearable moments. She has reminded us to treasure and celebrate every moment! We know she will able to overcome these developmental challenges with the help of OT, PT, and speech therapy. We know in our heart that she can overcome anything! We continue to witness miracles daily.
Please pray for our Zariah! Please pray for healthy lung tissue! Please pray for continued milestones! After being in the NICU for over 18 months, please help us get Zariah strong enough to be able to come home!