CEDAR PARK — Family life centered on a 16-month old can range anywhere from hectic to chaotic with laughs and messes thrown in between.
However, there will be a moment of reflection at tonight’s Thanksgiving Day dinner table when Katrina and Caleb Moline, with baby Bryce in tow, are reminded there is so much to be thankful for.
The Moline family travelled to Colorado this fall, giving Bryce his first airplane ride. At the Continental Divide, Caleb and Bryce rejoiced at the fun they were having as Katrina snapped her camera to capture the moment.
As parents of a child born at only 24 weeks, Katrina and Caleb have been active with Hand to Hold, a nonprofit that supports parents of preemies through local resources and one-on-one mentoring, since Bryce was born. Katrina submitted the photograph along with an essay to Central Texas’ Preemie Power contest, part of a community-wide neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) reunion. Last week, Bryce Moline was named the winner in the one to five-years old category.
Bryce was born 16 weeks early, weighing 1 pound, 8 ounces.
“I didn’t know I was in labor,” said Katrina. “I had precipitous labor and it was too late for me to get to the hospital. Bryce was born in our bathroom and we gave him CPR until EMS arrived four minutes later. He was taken to Cedar Park Regional Medical Center where they tried to stabilize him.”
“He did not look like a baby at all. At first, I thought, ‘he’s too small and too early to make it.’”
Bryce was transferred to Dell Children’s Hospital and spent the next 150 days of his young life in the NICU where he remained attached to a ventilator. Several doses of steroids were administered to Bryce and he underwent heart surgery at one week. Doctors determined that Bryce needed a shunt to reabsorb fluids from the severe brain bleeding he was experiencing. More surgeries followed and Bryce finally came home on oxygen and with a gastric tube for feeding.
Almost a year-and-a-half later, Bryce lives with a mild case of cerebral palsy as well as retinopathy of prematurity, a potentially blinding eye disorder.
He undergoes weekly therapy sessions and is the subject of a lot of prayers.
“We relish every moment we have with him,” Katrina said. “He just started rolling. He has no words but makes sounds. He’s very aware and gives kisses which are very emblematic of his personality – very sweet, very easy going and very snuggly.”
“He’s amazing. We were given a very challenging situation and this amazing little boy to go with it.”
According to data supplied by the Hand to Hold Organization, currently one out of every eight babies in the U.S. is born pre-term (before 37 weeks gestation). In 2006, one in seven babies was born preterm in Texas and, of the approximately 310 births in Austin each week of that year, 39 were premature.
Check hillcountrynews.com to view Bryce’s award-winning photo and read his parents’ essay.
For more details of the Molines’ story, see
brycemoline.blogspot.com and www.handtohold.org.