LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Diana and Antonio Parra live in New Mexico and have three children. When they found themselves pregnant with their fourth child, Diana says she had a normal pregnancy. Then at 21 weeks along, the Parra’s found out their child had a birth defect.
“Abram had what’s called Gastroschisis,” said Dr. Thomas McGill, a pediatric surgeon at University Medical Center, “which is where the intestines are outside of the body when the baby is born.”
Abram Parra-Garcia was born at 12:01 a.m. on February 8, 2019. He was six pounds, four ounces, and 20 inches long.
“Once he was born, we got to see him about maybe 10 minutes before he went straight into surgery with Dr. McGill,” said Diana.
Abram would spend 95 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). He was sent home on May 15, 2019, but days after being home, his parents sensed something was wrong.
“He was really very lethargic, very pale looking, and we’re just hoping that maybe he just needed some rest,” said Antonio.
The Parra’s decided to take Abram back to UMC.
“It seems like we made it just in time,” said Diana.
“The timing was perfect,” Antonio continued, “But I mean, as soon as the nurse basically took over and was gonna get him a room and get him put in, it’s like, all of a sudden, he stops breathing. So, everybody goes in panic mode, they go into emergency mode. And they start working on him. We didn’t even know what was going on or what to do. We basically just followed them around, even into the trauma room, and saw them going to work on him. It was a very hard experience to wonder if we were going to walk out of that room alone.”
Staff was able to resuscitate Abram. He spent 21 days in the Pediatric ICU and had to have four additional surgeries, including neurosurgery to relieve pressure on the brain. In all Abram has endured seven surgeries, and now, he is now a curious and active one-and-a-half-year-old.
“A true miracle really for that, because when you have somebody that young, arrest, is you know, that heart is very strong, so, we don’t expect a lot of cardiac arrests in children,” said Thivakorn (Tiva) Kasemsri, M.D., M.S., FAAP, Pediatric Critical Care team at UMC, “And when it happened, it bodes not too well for the outcome, usually. If it happens at home- there’s loss of oxygen to the brain and there could be severe brain damage. Luckily, happening in our medical system, due to, of course, help from CMN, all the experts and equipment are there and we expect pediatric cardiac arrest in the hospital to do quite well actually nowadays.”
The Parra family said they’re grateful for UMC and the Ronald McDonald House that helped them get through it all. And they added that even hundreds of miles from home, the staff at UMC became like family.
“I was there all day, every day with the baby. And the nurses were so welcoming. They were very nurturing. They were very helpful. Sorry, gets me emotional,” said Diana emotionally, “It was like a home away from home, in a way, because I had my husband away. And my other children away. We have three other kids, so it was hard in that way. But, you know, they became friends, is what I could say. They’re family.”