Miracles happen every day at PACT. Kendal is living proof.
Weighing just 1 lb., 1 oz., when he was born at 29 weeks, Kendal and his parents fought and prayed a lot during his first five months, which he spent in the hospital. Low levels of amniotic fluid caused intrauterine growth and forced his mother’s doctor to deliver the baby boy early, both for his health and his mother’s.
It wasn’t until five months later that he was released from the hospital. When he came home, his mother took two months off of work so she could manage his multiple medications, heart monitor, doctor’s appointments, and sometimes challenging feedings. Because of his early birth and small size, he had multiple health and developmental problems. All of this, plus adjusting to life with a new baby!
When Kendal was just over 8 months old, his mother was finally able to return to work, while he joined us here at PACT’s World of Care (WOC)—a day care center for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who have medical and developmental conditions that require special care.
Here, Kendal receives daily nursing care, physical, occupational, and speech therapies, and high-quality nurturing child care. And it’s making a difference. When he started with us, Kendal cautiously watched everything and everyone. He rarely smiled for us, despised tummy time, was leery of some foods and textures, and was not much for cuddling with caregivers.
But with consistency and team work, Kendal began to progress. His parents encouraged us to challenge Kendal, and they were open to suggestions from staff. They also shared tips from home. Kendal began spending more time on his belly. When he was tired of it, he was ready to roll, then scoot. He took a liking to many of the toys and would actively try to reach them. Therapists gave us ideas for using this to his advantage by placing his favorite toys in areas where he’d need to work to get to them, and they suggested when to offer more challenging toys. Nurses provided information and guidance about his respiratory and GI status so he could safely play and explore. Then, when he was 18 months, he began pulling up to a standing position and soon began to cruise around holding onto furniture. What a delight to watch him pull everything off of the shelves!
One morning this month, all of the staff were cheering and shouting. I couldn’t imagine what was so exciting until I arrived at the playroom, and there was Kendal taking steps to get a ball all by himself! Every child care provider came to celebrate. After Kendal took a few steps, he would then sit on the floor and clap and cheer for himself. Then, he stood up and headed straight for a hug from one of his teachers! All week, whenever I spoke with someone, they asked if I’d seen Kendal in action.
Today, with a big smile on his face, Kendal can walk several feet all by himself. He babbles the tune to every children’s song imaginable while also demonstrating the hand motions, and he feeds himself using his hands and drinks from a cup. While Kendal still has some work to do, he is a daily reminder of what teamwork at PACT is all about: miracles.