MADRID -- On March 31, the Seaway Valley Prevention Council staffers wore turquoise to show support for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) Awareness Day.
Congenital (born with) Diaphragmatic (Diaphragm) Hernia (hole) means the diaphragm, for unknown reasons, fails to completely form in utero. This hole allows for abdominal contents such as the stomach, liver, intestines and spleen to migrate up into the chest cavity crowding the room allotted for the lungs and pushing the heart over.
In 2009, Jerry and Kathryn Olmstead’s oldest daughter, Kayla Mae, was born with a diaphragmatic hernia. She was given a 50 percent chance of survival. Kayla was in the neonatal intensive care unit for 13 days before she was stable enough for her first repair surgery. Her lung growth was small and her heart was being severely crowded.
Fortunately her surgery was a success and then her struggle coming off the ventilator, feedings that were new to her and pain medication withdrawal began. After 59 days in the NICU, Kayla was strong enough to go home.
Shortly after her second birthday it was discovered that she had reherniated. She went in for her second major repair surgery to find that now her large intestine had migrated into her chest cavity. This surgery, too, was successful. The doctors also removed her appendix for future safety as it was on the wrong side.
Kayla Mae is 5 years old now. She has gone through more in her five years than most people do in a lifetime.
In 2007, Breath of Hope, Inc. established March 31 as CDH Awareness Day with turquoise as the color for CDH Awareness.
The Seaway Valley Prevention Council came together to support Kayla’s struggle and CDH Awareness for all babies who were born with the defect and are struggling to survive, for those babies who have survived and are dealing with the issues that come with the defect or for those who have passed away because of the defect.