Stony Brook, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The family of a Long Island newborn with a fighting spirit to survive learned Friday their baby boy may be released from hospital next month.
Christian Rojas is 83 days old and has spent every moment of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.
“I was 12 weeks pregnant, and we went in to find out the gender, and they told us that he was a boy,” said Christian’s mother, Nykki Hunter. “We were just overcome with emotion. Then, they said, ‘We need to speak with you in the other room.'”
“My body just went numb, because I was trying to process what was going on,” said Christian’s father, Christopher Rojas.
An ultrasound revealed Christian would be born with a congenital disorder called gastroschisis. His intestines had emerged through a hole in the abdominal wall on the outside of his body, and his life was at risk.
“Christian suffered, unfortunately, the consequences of the intestine twisting when it’s outside the body,” said Dr. Christopher Muratore. “That’s the most feared complication.”
The newborn was rushed into surgery, saving his life.
In the meantime, specialists across the country are stymied why this condition has increased 30 percent in five years.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 4.9 births out of every 10,000 are linked to gastroschisis. Age of the mother, environmental factors and recessive genetic traits are being studied.
“The prayers haven’t stopped,” said Rojas. “We get so much support from the community, all around social media.”
Families whose babies have gastroschisis are linked via a vast social media outreach.
“It just gives us that much more hope and faith to get through this and know we’re not alone,” said Rojas.
Christian’s empty nursery awaits him. Doctors hope he can go home in another month.
“We never want to leave him behind,” said Hunter. “It’s the hardest thing to put him down and walk away and leave him in the hands of somebody else who’s not us.”
Both mom and dad work, but once Christian comes home, one parent will have to be with him at all times.
The local community is holding a fundraiser on Saturday at the hospital to help with Christian’s medical costs and to raise awareness of the gastroschisis disorder.