When Sherree Raffin was 20 weeks pregnant, she had a routine ultrasound to find out the sex of her baby. What doctors saw on the monitor was shocking.
Raffin’s baby had a rare condition known as congenital diaphragmatic hernia, or CDH for short. His diaphragm had failed to develop, leaving his stomach, intestines, and other internal organs jumbled in his chest cavity. In addition, he had only one lung and his heart had migrated to the right side of his body.
Doctors warned the expecting mom that her baby would fight an uphill battle, but thought his odds were good. At 38 weeks, doctors performed a C-section.
As soon as Olly Raffin was born, he died. Incredibly, doctors were able to resuscitate him. However, Olly was far from healthy. His internal organs were jumbled, he had only one lung, and his heart was on the wrong side of his body.
Most babies with CDH have surgery 12 to 48 hours after birth, but Olly was just too weak. After 10 days, he finally went into surgery, and died again.
Raffin recounted the experience to the Daily Mail:
I got a phone call saying they had lost Ollie. He blew a hole in his good lung and there was no oxygen circulating in his body. They gave him adrenaline to get his heart pumping, and within 10 minutes they were able to bring him back. He was only 10 days old and I felt so much fear. I was numb, in complete shock.
The neonatal team had saved Olly’s life and put his organs in the right place. He also received a “lung bud,” which will grow into a full-functioning lung over time.
Slowly, Olly started to feel better. It wasn’t long before he began to put on weight and develop like a normal child.
For a while, the little tyke’s parents kept a sign on his stroller that said, “Please don’t touch, your germs are too big for me.” With his compromised immune system, even something like the common cold could be life-threatening.
Now meet healthy, happy Olly! You’d never guess that the almost two-year-old had such a rough start to life.
These days, the toddler is just like any other kid. He loves hanging out with family…
…playing with toys (especially outside!)…
…and relaxing at the beach! To his parents, every moment is a delight. They weren’t sure their baby boy would live, much less be the healthy, spunky child he is now.
His mom, Sherree, has made it her mission to raise awareness about CDH. Just last year, she raised $65,000 for charity.
Congratulations on the good health, Olly! You have some stellar parents — and a strong will to live.
I love these kinds of stories. If they don’t make your heart happy, I don’t know what will.