"A million questions started flooding our minds" - Logan's Story

On October 29, 2015, at 23-weeks pregnant we went in for the normal anatomy check. This appointment was a little different as our ultrasound technician was less chatty and friendly than in previous appointments. At first we did not think much of it, but then she excused herself to review the images with the doctor. As the minutes passed we got more and more uncomfortable and nervous. Forty-five minutes passed before the doctor came in to speak with us. She told us that they discovered that Logan’s stomach was not in his abdomen where it was supposed to be, but was in his chest crowding his lungs. She told us that this was likely caused by something called Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). Our hearts sunk and a million questions started flooding our minds. What is CDH? How did he develop it? Was it something we did? Will he survive? Will he be normal?

Our doctor tried her best to answer our questions, however she mentioned that she had limited experience with CDH babies and only knew of a few that had survived. As the severity of our son’s condition started to sink in everything started to blur. Words like ‘termination’, ‘in utero surgery’, ‘additional birth defects’, and ‘travel for delivery and care’ were the only things to really stand out.

We left the doctor’s office completely hopeless. We tried not to Google CDH but our curiosity and lack of information we received at our appointment took over. What we found online was devastating.

At this point, we were trying to come to grips with the fact that our son would probably not survive.

After more visits and even more bad news, we decided we needed a second opinion. This is where Dr. Kays came into play.

We found Dr. Kays’ email address, and we sent him an email with the hope of hearing better news about our son’s condition. To our surprise, we received an email back from him in less than 24 hours! After a few email exchanges and a phone call, we decided to travel to St. Petersburg, Florida to have a consultation with Dr. Kays. Afterwards, we knew we had no choice but to make the temporary move from Atlanta, Georgia to St. Petersburg so our son could be under Dr. Kays care.

Fast-forward to 38 weeks, 4 days and Logan Jackson was born on February 23 2016 at 4:04 pm weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz. Logan was a much sicker baby than we had originally thought. Logan had his stomach, bowel, spleen, intestines, and 20% of his liver in his chest, crowding his lungs and shifting his heart. His blood gasses were very bad and Logan scored a 2 on the Apgar scale.

Logan had his repair surgery at 16 hours old and was placed on ECMO not even 4 hours after that. Unfortunately, Logan gave Dr. Kays and his nurses quite a few challenges during his time at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. In his 80 day hospital stay Logan spent 21 days on ECMO (VV and VA), had a chest tube placed, had to be weaned off of ECMO in an emergency, had 56 blood transfusions, was intubated for 37 days, had a Nissen fundoplication, and g-tube inserted.

Today he is a happy and healthy 1 year old who has been weaned off oxygen and no longer has his g-tube. Our family is much larger than just the three of us. Going through this journey, the CDH community has been so supportive, they've become family.  

We know there is no way Logan would be here today if he wasn’t born under Dr. Kays care.