By Liberty Pike, Guest Contributor
15 weeks. Almost four months. An innocuous length of time to the average American. But to 18-year-old Kristin Byers and 21-year-old Kyle Niezgoda, four months spelled an almost certain death sentence.
Their son, Isaiah Bentley Niezgoda, was born 15 weeks early on July 15. A micro-preemie, he weighed just one pound, 13 ounces at birth, and was the size of his father’s open hand. Doctors told the young parents that it was likely Isaiah would not survive.
Apparently no one told Isaiah that. He has survived severe cranial hemorrhaging (Grade 4 IVH) as well as acute kidney failure. He has PDA, a heart condition that is common in premature babies. Ordinarily doctors would treat PDA with medicine but Isaiah can’t take the medication due to his kidney failure.
Needing specialized treatment, Isaiah was transferred from a Vancouver, Wash. hospital to the Oregon Health and Science University Hospital in Portland. During the transport, Isaiah’s breathing tube punctured his lung, filling both lungs with blood and depriving him of oxygen. Isaiah fought that battle and won.
As if all that weren’t overwhelming and miraculous to endure, Isaiah also survived brain surgery, which installed a temporary drain for ventricular swelling. He is now three weeks old and still proving resilient.
His family created a GoFundMe page to help pay for the inevitable hospital bills.
“Every day is a new battle, and there is a long road ahead,” the family wrote on the page. “Due to the bleeding in his brain, it is essentially guaranteed that he will have some form of brain damage, and he is at an extremely high risk for a long-term disability. Isaiah is expected to remain in the hospital at least until his original due date of October 27, with three months or more of hospitalization and procedures still to come…”
Isaiah’s heroic story continues to show doctors and his family his will to live.
“Isaiah has miraculously opened his eyes, is looking around and responding to touch — something doctors thought he may never be able to do because of his brain damage, let alone so soon. He responds to visual cues, auditory stimulus and even touch,” his family wrote.
“Isaiah will not give up, and we will not give up on Isaiah.”
Those wishing to help Isaiah’s family can contribute financially through GoFundMe or can join their Facebook group to follow updates of Isaiah’s journey.
Editor’s note. This first appeared in the Oregon Optimist and is reprinted with permission