Ali's Fight for Life
by Gina Lafler
Ali was born at 29 weeks gestation (average gestation time is 40 weeks). Her respiratory system was not only premature, but also compromised by her biological mother's drug use. She spent most of her first year of life in Children's Mercy.
Ali's first trip was by helicopter because, for some unknown reason, her body temperature had dropped to 92.4 degrees. By the time I got her to the doctor's office 10 minutes away, her breathing was very shallow and she was a little grayish in color. Our doctor's office, as well as the local fire department and the life flight crew, did everything within their power to get her alive to Children's Mercy. It was touch-and-go when she arrived. Ali was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for seven days and underwent many tests. With great care and much love, she was finally able to come home with us.
Ali's Continued Struggle
From October 2006 through March 2007, Ali spent at least one week of every month in the hospital. Pneumonia, bronchiolitis, influenza B—everything attacked her lungs. Deep suctioning was part of her routine and her life. She arrived by ambulance as often as in our family car. But Ali is a fighter, and the Children's Mercy staff are lifesavers. At Ali's final visit in March, we were provided with an asthma action plan.
Because of gross motor delays (she did not walk until 21 months), Ali was referred to the rehab clinic in September 2008. She received her first of three Dynamic Ankle-Foot Orthoses (braces) and started physical therapy twice a week at Children's Mercy South. After the initial consult with the rehab clinic, it was suggested Ali have an MRI to confirm or deny cerebral palsy. In October 2010, she had an MRI performed at the hospital that confirmed what we all had suspected: a form of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia.
Ali has received three rounds of botox therapy, with her fourth due in September. She also has had one four-week round of serial casting. Ophthalmology has seen Ali since birth and fitted her for her glasses. She handles it all like a trooper!
A Kid at Heart
Ali had her fifth birthday on August 17. She is in "pre-k" and loves it. She swims, rides bikes, jumps on the trampoline, and keeps up with the other children her age. She is the most determined, independent and loving little girl you will ever find.
Our family is thankful for our pediatrician who is an advocate of Children's Mercy. Without Children's Mercy we wouldn't have had our little girl to adopt and forever be a part of our family. We cannot say it enough: Children's Mercy saves lives and also makes them better. We literally owe her life to the doctors and nurses of Children's Mercy!
When you include a gift to Children's Mercy in your financial and estate plans, you'll be giving other children like Ali a chance at a better life.