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While the 2006 Children’s Miracle Network Celebration broadcast was airing, Holly was holding her daughter, Hannah, for the first time – but it wasn’t the scenario that Holly or her husband, Seth, had expected.
Young Hannah was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital after being born more than 14 weeks early and weighing a little more than a pound and a half. She was 6 weeks old when her parents finally were able to hold her.
“She was so fragile,” Holly remembers.
The odds seemed to be stacked against Hannah. She wasn’t breathing after she was born and required resuscitation. The list of complications from her prematurity was extensive and included collapsed lungs and breathing problems, eye problems, thin bones, anemia and even a brain bleed.
“Initially, Hannah did well and was weaned off the respirator in a day – but this was short-lived,” explains Janet Weis Children’s Hospital neonatologist Ed Everett, DO. “Soon, she was back on the respirator with severe lung disease. She was medically fragile for months.”
“There was a lot of worrying and stress, never knowing what the outcome was going to be or if she was going to live,” Holly says.
She was in the NICU for almost four months, finally able to go home with her parents and big brother Blake in August. But the health problems – and her parents’ concern – didn’t end then. Hannah still was on oxygen and required breathing treatments every four hours. She also had to be monitored for sleep apnea, a condition in which she could stop breathing during sleep.
“I would feed her in the middle of the night and was afraid to put her down,” Holly says.
And the fears continued as Hannah struggled to stay healthy.
“She lived in the house for a year,” Seth says. “Every time she had gone out, she got sick.”
Today, however, Hannah is an active youngster who loves to be outside and loves to play. To look at her, you would never guess that she has been through so much. But when you know her personality – that’s a different story.
“She has no fear,” Seth says.
Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger provided funds for much of the NICU equipment that Hannah – and many other children across the region – have benefitted from, including infant resuscitators, incubators, monitors, ventilators and medication pumps.
Meet Hannah: 2010 Miracle Kid
Hannah was born nearly four months early and weighed a little more than a pound and a half. Today, she is a healthy girl with a bright future.