"You're Saving Lives"
After more than four months, two surgeries and thousands of miles spent driving to Indianapolis and back every day, this is the moment Aaron and Jessica Posey have been waiting for. Today is the day they will bring their son, Owen, home for the first time.
Jessica was just 26 weeks pregnant when she went into labor. After being airlifted to Methodist Hospital at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, she gave birth to Owen, who weighed only 2 pounds 5 ounces and had severely underdeveloped lungs.
“Because he was born so early and his lungs were so weak, he was on a ventilator and couldn’t be weaned off. Surgery was our only option at that point,” Jessica recalls.
At three weeks, Owen underwent heart surgery at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and began the slow process of growing strong enough to breathe on his own.
“He came off the ventilator and needed less and less oxygen, but his original due date came and went, and he still needed too much for us to take him home,” Jessica says. “It was really difficult. It felt like he’d stopped improving.”
But just a week before turning 4 months, Jessica drove up for her daily visit to find Owen’s oxygen nosepiece next to him on his bed. He’d taken it off by himself and was breathing without help.
Next came hernia surgery and his first successful bottle feeding. It’s been an emotional journey for the whole family, with an outcome that Jessica calls “miraculous.”
“We never imagined we would be in this situation. There were times when I was just in tears, and the staff at Riley built us back up, not with false hope, but with the experience to know that Owen would get better,” she says.
Owen headed home in September with a feeding tube, and is visited by a nurse twice a week. He’ll continue to make regular trips back to Riley Hospital to keep tabs on his chronic lung disease, high blood pressure and speech development. Aaron, Jessica and 4-year-old sister Savanna are grateful to finally be home together as a family.
“I don’t think people can really understand the impact they have when they give to Riley. If there wasn’t a place like Riley, I don’t know where we would be today,” Jessica says. “When you donate to Riley, you’re saving lives. That’s what it comes down to.”
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