River in the NICU at Children's Hospital

River Turns 1 on World Prematurity Day

Family shares thanks for Children’s Hospital’s expert care

Medical professionals had to whisk River away from his mom moments after his birth.

Born prematurely, his underdeveloped lungs struggled to work. He needed oxygen and fast.

It’s now a year later.

And River’s parents are marking today’s date (Nov. 17) for two important reasons: It’s River’s first birthday as well as World Prematurity Day – a day to bring awareness to the challenges of pre-term birth.

“River was born about a month too early. He was a small baby – less than five pounds,” recalls his mom, Mikaela.

“I felt helpless when medical professionals rushed him away to be cared for by Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It was the start of a long and difficult journey for our family.”

River’s prematurity resulted in medical complications.

He was diagnosed with Respiratory Distress Syndrome, a condition where he didn’t have enough fluid in his lungs to stop them from collapsing.

He also had a hole in his heart that should have closed before birth.

“My husband, Luke and I, were in denial about how long it would take for River to get better. I thought we would spend days in the NICU,” says Mikaela. “River was in hospital for a month. Fortunately, his care team was amazing the whole time. They treated him like he was their own.”

Children’s Hospital was there for River and his family again when his breathing issues landed him in hospital again at six months old.

River will need ongoing care from Children's HospitalEarly signs suggested that River’s lungs would improve with time. Medical professionals no longer believe this is the case. They have diagnosed him with Interstitial Lung Disease.

River will require ongoing care from Children’s Hospital.

“On World Prematurity Day, I hope the community recognizes how fortunate we are to have Children’s Hospital so close to home. I am so grateful they saved my son’s life and continue to provide the very best care for him,” shares Mikaela.

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