“I never saw a day of my third trimester – I had preeclampsia and began experiencing organ failure, so Charlie came at 25 weeks. He spent 87 days in the NICU at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, and at the end of it, we came home with him on September 19th – two and a half weeks before his due date. So he’s our miracle baby.
With Charlie being born so early, there comes a set of challenges. You’re just overall developmentally delayed in multiple areas. A huge problem was that Charlie couldn’t eat by himself, and he ended up losing so much weight that the decision was made to put in the G-tube, the feeding tube. He became feeding tube dependent, and he spent 6 years, 4 months, and 12 days with the tube – not that I was counting! We became G-tube free on June 13th of this year, which is a miracle. But because Charlie had the feeding tube for so long, now he doesn’t know how to eat. He has issues with food textures and not chewing food, and that’s what led us to rehab.
Last year Charlie learned just how to touch food to his lips. And today, he was actually able to put things inside his mouth and chew the food – he’s making huge strides through this rehab clinic. Without this rehab I don’t know if we could get over the hurdles we’ve faced and made the progress we’re making. One day I want to buy Charlie a Happy Meal and see him sit down and eat chicken nuggets and french fries like other kids – and we’re a long way from that goal, but we’re getting closer every day and we have the Rehab Center and this clinic to thank for that.”