By Kathy Walsh

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– A baby boy, born with a rare birth defect, is now 15 months old and thriving. He had major surgery to correct his anatomy just days after birth at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

His parents are sharing their story to help other parents.

elis diaphragm 5pkg frame 0 Childrens Hospital Colorado Experts In Treating Rare Birth Defect

(credit: CBS)

He’s a funny, happy, baby boy with two mothers who enjoy every moment with Eli. But there was a time when Jennifer and Debbie Stevenson wondered if their baby would survive.

elis diaphragm 5pkg frame 210 Childrens Hospital Colorado Experts In Treating Rare Birth Defect

Jennifer and Debbie Stevenson with Eli (credit: CBS)

“We were terrified,” said Jennifer.

When Jennifer was 18 weeks pregnant, she and Debbie learned that Eli had a rare condition called congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a hole in his diaphragm.

elis diaphragm 5pkg frame 720 Childrens Hospital Colorado Experts In Treating Rare Birth Defect

(credit: CBS)

“He had all of his stomach, his spleen, his entire colon and all of his small bowel loops up in his chest,” explained Debbie.

The organs were preventing Eli’s lungs from growing. His parents were told their baby had a 50 percent chance of survival.

elis diaphragm 5pkg frame 1387 Childrens Hospital Colorado Experts In Treating Rare Birth Defect

(credit: CBS)

“We were told that a third of the people terminate upon hearing this diagnosis,” said Jennifer.

elis diaphragm 5pkg frame 1537 Childrens Hospital Colorado Experts In Treating Rare Birth Defect

(credit: Stevenson Family)

Debbie consulted experts in Boston only to learn Children’s Hospital Colorado had a cutting edge Fetal Care Center. Eli was born there. Four days later, he had surgery. He spent 7 weeks in Children’s.

elis diaphragm 5pkg frame 1597 Childrens Hospital Colorado Experts In Treating Rare Birth Defect

(credit: Stevenson Family)

Eli’s 1st birthday party included his medical team led by pediatric and fetal surgeon, Dr. Ken Liechty.

elis diaphragm 5pkg frame 1867 Childrens Hospital Colorado Experts In Treating Rare Birth Defect

(credit: Stevenson Family)

“His prognosis is great, he should do quite well,” said Liechty.

The Stevensons call Liechty “Batman.” He is their super hero.

elis diaphragm 5pkg frame 1987 Childrens Hospital Colorado Experts In Treating Rare Birth Defect

(credit: CBS)

“It’s not just one person,” said Liechty, “but I’m happy to be their Batman.”

And one of the many people who gave little Eli a bright future.

elis diaphragm 5pkg frame 967 Childrens Hospital Colorado Experts In Treating Rare Birth Defect

Jennifer and Debbie Stevenson with Eli (credit: CBS)

“He has no fear at all and he’s going to set the world on fire,” said Debbie.

Children’s Hospital Colorado cares for 20 to 30 CDH patients a year.

elis diaphragm 5pkg frame 1717 Childrens Hospital Colorado Experts In Treating Rare Birth Defect

(credit: Stevenson Family)

Eli’s parents say the team at Children’s not only takes care of the baby, but the family as well.

elis diaphragm 5pkg frame 385 Childrens Hospital Colorado Experts In Treating Rare Birth Defect

(credit: CBS)

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 since 1984. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s