Brooke Woodmansey | CaringBridge

Brooke Woodmansey

First post: 4/21/2016 Latest post: 5/2/2016
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When I was 21 weeks pregnant in 2003, Alan and I learned via ultrasound that our baby was to be born with a life-threatening congenital diaphragmatic hernia birth defect.  Brooke’s entire left diaphragm had failed to form, which resulted in the herniation of her intestines, stomach, and spleen into her chest cavity.  As a result, her left lung was not growing properly and would only be a very small fraction of its’ normal size.  We learned that she would only have a 50% chance of survival and this was only if she was delivered in a major health center with access to the most state-of-the-art technology.  If she did survive, we were told that she would most likely struggle with breathing, feeding, and developmental issues for the rest of her life.  It was absolutely one of the scariest periods in our lives as we feared for our baby’s survival and well-being.   We lived in a hotel in Denver for 3 months before she was born, so that in case she came early, she would be able to have surgery at Denver Children’s Hospital.  


Ten days after my due date, Brooke was born.  As expected, she was not able to cry or breathe at birth due to her crowded, underdeveloped lungs.  She was immediately intubated and put on a breathing machine.  At one day old, she had surgery to repair the hernia.  A gore-tex patch was placed where her missing diaphragm should have been and her intestines, stomach, and spleen were moved back down into her abdomen.  For the next 3 months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Brooke fought for her life!  Every day was a roller-coaster as she endured one set-back after another (pulmonary hypertension, tracheomalacia, chylothorax, superior vena cava syndrome, a massive blood-clot that required angioplasty, and a bowel obstruction that required another surgery).  We came so close to losing her on so many occasions.  In the depths of our despair, we could not possibly imagine how our little girl would ever be able to breathe on her own, eat, or even come close to ever living a somewhat normal life.  


With the help of modern science, many loving prayers, and her amazing will to live, Brooke managed to surprise us all!  Not only did she survive, but she has immensely exceeded all of our expectations!   Looking at Brooke today most people would never know all that she has endured…  but we will never forget!  Today she is a bright 12 year old who loves school, ballet, playing the violin, and spending time with her family.  

On Thursday April 21st 2016, Brooke was life-flighted from Helena, MT to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City for surgical correction of a small bowel obstruction.  Brooke had been struggling for one week prior with nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and had been hospitalized for one week in Helena.  Scar tissue from her previous abdominal surgery wrapped around her small intestine causing it to be constricted.  Brooke had a successful surgery on April 22nd to remove the obstruction.  We appreciate all of the love, care, and support you have given!


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