Friday, February 6, 2009


Seemingly healthy, bouncing baby boy!

The actual ECMO machine. This machine gets its own team of nurses, and Strider had his own nurse at all times!

This is his room at UMC.

My son! I wondered if he would ever look like he once did, but I really didn't care.

I guess because I call Strider "Tiny" people have assumed he was a premie. That is not the case. Then when I tell them he is an ECMO survivor the questions come flooding, so I thought I would clarify things through this post. I use this as my journal, and I didn't have a blog during his battle, so I have decided it a good idea to document what I can remember!

Strider was born via c-section like all four of my other children on January 15th, 2007. He was 9 pounds and 2 ounces. Mind you, this is two weeks early! He would have been enormous had we left him in there any longer! Later, we would be told if he would have been in utero any longer he probably wouldn't have lived because of the unknown bacterial infection he was fighting, and then he would have also been too big to fight the PPH.

Shortly after being born (within 24 hours) Strider was diagnosed with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH). PPH is basically when your lungs don't oxygenate your blood. It's sort of like the baby was still in utero. Premies often have this, but they are so tiny it's a little easier to fix. He was also fighting some sort of bacterial infection that was never cultured out, so we aren't sure what it was. YRMC tried to take care of him for two days, and then he and I were flown out to UMC in Tucson. Quite a flight! I wish I had pictures of that. Bobby hit the road to Tucson as soon as we were certain we were going. He made it there almost as fast as we did! After several days of trying different vents and other magic tricks the doctors told us ECMO was out "last ditch effort." The success rate of this machine was not in our favor, and in fact, the last baby they had put on ECMO did not make it.

ECMO is also known as a lung/heart bypass machine...Life support. It takes donated blood, oxygenates it, and pumps it through the baby's body while his lungs rest and heal. We are huge advocates of blood donation, by the way! We were told he could be on this machine for up to twelve days, and if it didn't do the trick we would have to talk about "our options with the doctors."

After three days they did a trial run without it, and Strider responded well. Well enough they decided to take him off. The longer a baby is on the machine the higher the chances for clotting and other things. We could not believe he was coming off this soon! It was truly a miracle.

Once he came off he was a little better every day. They would take him off of a few more meds, wires, narcotics, and steroids. They had promised us that if the ECMO worked his recovery would be quick. We just had to get through the ECMO alive. They were right. Each day he was a little better. There were no setbacks from that point on! Our baby was alive, and after two and a half weeks of being in Tucson we were flown back to YRMC. At YRMC he was able to fully recover, learn to eat, and get off the drugs!

Strider Zane is a very special baby. He's a miracle in both the scientific and the spiritual sense. He is a blessing and a reminder of greater things than ourselves. He is not Tiny because he was small. He is Tiny because he is our tiny miracle. We didn't part the Red Sea or feed the masses, but our millions of prayers were answered.


Sarah Blue said...


I've seen infants hooked to machines before. My sister's last baby had quite a few, but I've never seen that many machines and wires and tubes for just one baby. That is amazing and freaky and crazy all in one.

I'm so glad that your little Strider pulled through. What a wonderful miracle.

Thanks for sharing his story.

Sparcam said...

The picture with all the wires is a keeper.

He is incredibly cute! I bet his sisters adore him (most of the time!)

cj savage said...

seriously that's all i can say.
thanks for sharing. my rylee & i have a story similiar to this.

Deck The HALLS of HOME with JOY! said...

I remember the ECMO machine from Brandi's days in NICU. I was always amazed at the babies on Ecmo! The Ecmo machines were right behind our pod! Yes, your cute little son is a miracle!
We saw many babies on ecmo machines for a lot longer and a lot of babies that didn't make it!
We are so happy for your miracle!
There is something about NICU that stays with you forever! I still think about all those little babies! We saw babies that had no families or were abandoned.
It's always great to hear about happy endings and see babies with great families!

Tina said...

Even though I have seen those pictures before, they are still a little shocking. It is hard to comprehend all that was going on with one Tiny baby....thankfully, a miracle was taking place.

Stephanie said...

That is an incredible story Sabra! Wow, that must of been so hard to go through. What an awesome happy ending!

Lisa and Troy Love said...

Wow Sabre, thanks for the story and info about your big "tiny" boy. What an absolute miracle. People think we don't have miracles anymore because science has advanced so far but how did it advance so far? Our Father in Heaven is the master scientist and I'm so glad He inspired men and women to create that incredible machine to save your little guy's life. I'm sure Strider has many more miracles to be part of in his life - ones that he will make happen because of his greatness.

mrs t said...

Thanks for sharing that wonderful story. I'm so glad it turned out the way it did. I'm sure Strider will continue to amaze you.

alison said...

That is so amazing that he was able to pull through and beat the odds, he is so cute. I love seeing you or Booby sitting in the foyer at church holding your boys, it is so sweet. I can say that, if you are in the foyer with them you are probably not thinking the word "sweet," at that moment. Anyways, you are a great writer Sabs, I wish I had a knack for that. It would make my grad courses a lot easier!!!!!!

TAMMY said...

OK, I am all emotional! You have told me the story before, and even though I deal with babies on a day-to-day basis and hear all the sad and happy stories... this was amazing. I have thought about this story several times when I call him Tiny at church!