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Many words can be used to describe our almost 4 year old, John Russotto, Jr., or as he is affectionately known, Johnny -joyful, hilarious, intelligent, silly, strong, happy, charming, mischievous, and cuddly. However, three words may not come to mind immediately to those who don’t know him or his story-miracle, survivor, and twin.
After three arduous years of trying to conceive, John and I were overjoyed to hear that we were finally pregnant with not one, but two beautiful boys. Every doctor’s appointment and checkup went beautifully until our routine 25 week checkup discovered that I was 3 cm. dilated and in active labor. I was admitted to Monmouth early that evening and placed on immediate bed rest. However, twelve hours later, the boys had other plans and after a placenta accreta ruptured and I began hemorrhaging, John and Michael were delivered via emergency c-section at 4:05 and 4:06 a.m. on October 5, 2013, weighing a mere 1 lb. 14 oz. and 1 lb. 12 oz. respectively.
John and Michael had to fight to breathe on their own as their lungs weren’t fully developed. They were put on ventilators, given ample steroids and caffeine, and suffered from Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Both boys had Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA’s) at birth that eventually closed due to the treatments administered in the NICU. They received several blood transfusions and suffered daily apneic events. After two months of growing successfully, the doctors were finally beginning to discuss “when” we could take the boys home, which was music to any NICU parents’ ears. However, a routine eye examination showed that Michael, Baby B, had fast accelerating Retinopathy of Prematurity (Stage 3 with plus disease). Shortly thereafter, Michael was transferred to an out of state hospital to undergo “routine” laser surgery, in an effort to prevent possible blindness. Tragically, Michael never woke up from this surgery and the complications that arose were insurmountable. He passed away in my arms, on my birthday, surrounded by his family.
John and I have no words to express the emotion, grief, loss, and conflicted hearts we still carry to this day. One thing that cannot be disputed was that it was the doctors, nurses, and NICU staff at Monmouth Medical that allowed John and Michael to grow, thrive, and survive! Their care and attention led to John being taken home 107 days after his birth. We hold the utmost respect and love for the compassion, caring, and exemplary medicine practiced by these doctors and nurses and credit our extraordinary, almost four year old son as living proof of this love and care!
Miracles happen every day. The 11th Annual Big Steps for Little Feet is a wonderful family fun-filled day, which raises funds in support of the Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Regional Newborn Center at Monmouth Medica Center.
I hope you can support me and my team for this year's walk. Your commitment and generosity help to guarantee a strong future for all who need Monmouth Medical Center.
You can walk with me on September 17th or donate to my team. Your support will matter to so many people. Please join me today!