Katherine's Story: Parent's Letter Project Aspiration/difficulty breathing- Katie's mom

My beautiful baby girl, Katie, was born five years ago this September. Two days after her delivery nurses at the hospital informed me that my daughter was turning "dusky" and they had to use suction to clear her airway but it was probably no big deal. I wish that had been the case.

Soon after we brought her home I noticed she would choke when I tried to breastfeed her. My son had been born with laryngomalacia, but never experienced that symptom so I brought Katie right to our pediatrician. The pediatrician referred us to Children's National and we were thrilled. We knew that the best doctors in the area would help us find out what was wrong with our Katie.

Two days after our appointment with a pulmonologist at Children's National, Katie became very sick and had to be admitted to the Respiratory Care Unit (RCU). While we were there, the doctors discovered that Katie had severe laryngomalacia and was unknowingly aspirating milk into her lungs, causing an infection. The team of speech pathologists, pulmonologists, and ear, nose, and throat doctors were amazing. They worked with my husband and I so that we could learn how to successfully feed her and care for her at home.

After a week in the hospital, we brought Katie home and continued to be seen by the pulmonology team at the Children's National Regional Outpatient Center in Fairfax, VA. The doctors and nurses were patient with all of my questions and helped us through some difficult times. Katie's condition corrected itself as she grew older and now she is a happy, active four-and-a-half year old. I knew we were in good hands when we were referred to Children's National, and you will be too. We were very scared in the beginning. Looking back we weathered quite a storm, but are enjoying every minute that Katie is healthy now! Whenever you are scared or unsure be sure to reach out to your support network, it's easier than going it alone.

There is a high probability that any grandchildren my little ones have will also have this condition and I am comforted knowing that there will be experts, like the ones we had at Children's National to take care of them someday. I often think about the other families that have to walk through the doors of Children's National. We are a unique and special group of parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and siblings. I want you to know that not only do I think of you, but I pray for you and your family as well! 

Sincerely,

Kim, Katie's mom

Treatment Team

  • Venkat Shankar, MD

    Venkat Shankar
    Division Chief, Critical Care Medicine; Respiratory Care Services

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