Join us this week as Jill Gibson shares her son’s journey on the CDH Radio Show, after he was diagnosed with CDH.
Tune in at 6:00 pm EST, December 14, 2021 to https://www.blogtalkradio.com/cdh/2021/12/14/december-14-2021-guest–jill-gibson-mother-of-cdh-survivor-ben.
Listen to archives of the radio show at http://www.cdhradio.org.
Jill’s CDH journey with her son, Benjamin, begins like so many others in the CDH community. Jill went into her OB’s for a routine pregnancy checkup and an ultrasound. Jill shares, “for me, this day came at 29 weeks pregnant. My pregnancy had been picture-perfect. The ultrasound was going as normal, pausing for a screen shot of my baby every few seconds. Then came the long pause, the look that something didn’t seem right, and the words “I’m seeing something on the scan, I’m going to grab the doctor.” They came back into the room together, the doctor looked at the ultrasound, and in a very gentle yet direct way, he said my baby had a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.”
Jill was going through a divorce during her pregnancy with Ben and it was difficult hearing those words CDH all alone. She knew she had to be strong for her little boy. Jill shares, “he told me he’d have a 50% chance of survival, that they really didn’t know the prognosis until he was born, and that his best chance was to go full term to get his heart and lungs as strong as possible. Then he said he’d be with me every step of the way and help me get there. We made it full term!”
Bejamin would join the world by emergency c-section on Friday, May 13th. “The short seconds between him being pulled from my belly and a first cry seemed like an eternity. The cry only lasted a second though, he was immediately intubated and then taken to the NICU,” Jill recalls.
Jill shares, “It was so hard to see my baby in the NICU, he was so little and there were tubes and wires coming from every direction. There were monitors and machines, bright lights, and constant beeping noises. It took my son a week to be strong enough for surgery.”
Seven days after he was born, on May 19th, Benjamin would have surgery to repair his diaphragm and move his organs out of his chest cavity and into his abdomen. Jill shares, “at nine days old I held him for the first time ever. At 15 days old he came off the ventilator and could finally breathe on his own. He would spend the next couple weeks learning how to do all the things that come naturally to most babies, like breathing on his own and eating from a bottle. Finally on day 28 I was able to bring my baby home.”
Ben is now ten years old and doing amazing, he is a CDH fighter! Ben loves sports and currently has no complications. Jill shares, “the first 2 years of his life were the most challenging. He had two additional surgeries after leaving the NICU and multiple hospital stays for several issues including severe reflux and RSV. At 20 months old he had emergency surgery for a double bowel obstruction. Since then, he has had a few x-rays to make sure everything is ok. He has been great, very healthy, and we hope it stays that way!”
Shortly after Ben came home from the NICU, Jill knew how important it was to raise CDH Awareness. She wanted others to be aware of this birth anomaly and has held many fundraisers over the years and get togethers for families in Nevada. Jill is a Fundraising Executive for CDH International and a member of the Support Team.
If you want to share your child’s CDH journey, please visit https://cdhi.org/shareyourstory/.