August 31, 2009, was an extremely special birthday for Lindsey Schoonover of Loyal. After months of waiting, she was able to hold her son, Ayden, for the first time. He was already 2 ½ months old. Born on June 11 (25 weeks along) Ayden weighed just 14 ounces and measured 9 ¾ inches long. Since he was 15 weeks early, he fought for every breath and faced daily life threatening challenges caused by Pulmonary Hypertension, Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD), Retinopathy of Prematurity, Cerebral Palsy, Neural Developmental Disorder and Chronic Nonspecific Lung Disease.
Ayden spent the first five months of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. After the NICU he was moved to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Although Ayden was showing improvements, he was still battling many health issues from his premature birth. He had multiple surgeries including a tracheotomy and gastronomy tube. At nine months old he graduated from tube feeding and was finally able to be fed his first bottle.
After 515 days at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Ayden was able to go home. Although he was discharged, around the clock care was required for Ayden. His devoted NICU and PICU nurses went above and beyond to become certified and formed a home-care group. At home, Ayden was oxygen, ventilator and gastronomy-tube dependent. Children’s Miracle Network provided a wheelchair that was able to push him, his equipment and tubes. This allowed Ayden to be transported from home to his doctor visits at the Hospital and Marshfield Clinic.
Today, Ayden, is a five year old with the energy of a firecracker. He is in his second year of Pre-Kindergarten and loves school. He still struggles with growth and must endure daily shots of growth hormones, but he still enjoys being outside, playing with his little sister, Macy, and going for 4-wheeler rides.
Endless support from family, friends, nurses and doctors has allowed Ayden to thrive. His Mom, Lindsey, says “Ayden has fought so very hard to be where he is today. I have no doubt he will fight through anything else that may come his way. He is our miracle.”
Parents: Ryan Smith & Lindsey Schoonover, Donny Storck (deceased)
Sibling: Macy Smith