Given less than 1% chance to survive, preemie now healthy and home with mom and dad

“An honest-to-God miracle”

By Dave Andrusko

Parents Daniel Breyts and Jess Novac with their son, Rowan, who was given a slim chance of survival, but turned around against all odds.
(Photo Credit: FOX 59)

When micropreemies, such as Rowan Breyts, are born so tiny and so fragile, it requires a lot of parental fortitude and faith not to give into gloom-and-doom diagnoses. But after a 209 day stay in a neonatal unit, the little boy whom doctors gave less than a 1% chance of survival, is at home with his family in Indiana.

It’s easy to understand why a hospital in Illinois asked them to prepare for Rowan’s death. He was born three months premature, weighing barely over a pound, according to Caleb Parke of Fox News, and suffered from Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), an aggressive infectious disease that attacks intestines.

“Without a small intestine, he could never eat,” Breyts told Parke.

“He would never grow. He was too small to hope for a transplant. It was a death sentence,” Breyts said of the diagnosis. “We kissed him and cried, telling him how much we loved him and wished there was something we could do.”

Moreover, as his mother, Jess Novac, told Alexa Green of Fox 59:

“It was a hard balance between I wanted him to survive, but I was a realistic person, they told me he was going to die. I just didn’t want him in any pain and drag it out at that point.”

But Rowan wouldn’t give up. Over the course of two months, rather than worsening, he improved. Looking for a second opinion, Novac and Breyts contacted Riley’s Children Hospital in Indianapolis.

According to the couple, the hospital staff “even mentioned the possibility of a transplantation of his intestines.” That had not even been a consideration at the Illinois hospital.

The day Rowan was accepted, he was transferred by helicopter to Riley Children Hospital where surgery was performed just four days later. Lo and behold one of the doctors “told me they saw a lot of pink viable intestine, which was the exact opposite of what we had been told,” Breyts said.

In the two months Rowan had stayed in the Illinois hospital, all the parents could offer was their company, their tears, and their apologies (as if it was their fault, which it wasn’t).

Now the little boy who weighed barely a pound at birth, weights 13 pounds, 9 ounces. His is healthier with each day.

“Seeing him myself and knowing where he came from as far as how small he was and the issues that he had, in my heart he is a miracle,” Breyts told FOX 59. “He’s an honest-to-God miracle.”