March 25, 2019
Last year, while pregnant with identical twin boys, Julie and Brad Larson learned one of the baby’s small intestines could not process food or fluids.
Upon hearing the news, the Larsons’ hearts sank. With two young daughters at home in Willow Lake, S.D., they were already anxiously preparing for life with a family of four children.
“That was a really overwhelming day just because I had had two really healthy pregnancies and now I get to this third one and something came up,” Julie said. “As a mom, it’s really easy to blame yourself.”
Instead, the couple relied on the experts at Sanford Children’s.
“They really helped us prepare for everything, so I was thankful for what they did from that appointment on,” Julie said.
Baby A, later named Rudy, had a congenital condition called duodenal atresia. Sanford’s prenatal specialists, who watched closely for other risks, discovered too much amniotic fluid encompassing the babies in the womb. Julie was rushed into surgery, where Rudy and Jack were delivered six weeks early.
Two teams were standing by in the Boekelheide Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) when the baby brothers were born. Two days later, the neonatal surgeons repaired Rudy’s intestines.
Over the weeks following the babies’ births and Rudy’s surgery, the support of generous donors to Sanford Children’s Miracle Network was evident.
Because of donor gifts, both the boys could rest comfortably in Giraffe™ OmniBeds™, special incubators in the NICU that simulate the womb, until they were strong enough to go home. Donors also helped fund Sanford social workers and Child Life Specialists who provided emotional support for the family, and helped cover costs incurred by travel and meals, allowing Julie and Brad to focus on what mattered most: their children.
Julie calls every donor a blessing.
“All of that was unexpected,” she said. “It really opened our eyes to what Children’s Miracle Network does.”
After 28 days, Jack was strong enough to leave the NICU. Rudy joined him at home after another two and a half weeks. Today, the boys are nearly 11 months old and getting lots of love from their older sisters at home.