SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — When she was 20 weeks pregnant, an anatomy scan revealed Alicia Grubbs’ unborn baby was suffering from a congenital defect of the abdominal wall.
“That’s where the abdominal organs form on the outside of the body,” Alicia continued, “his was just all of his bowel.”
For the remainder of her pregnancy, Alicia and her husband Cody traveled back and fourth from Fayetteville to Arkansas Children’s (ACH) in Little Rock where she was closely monitored.
“It was just overwhelming at first,” Cody said.
Baby Dean was born just a couple of months later at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Immediately he was transferred to ACH.
“It’s scary as a parent when you can’t help your child and you don’t know what to do and you’re just kind of lost.”Alicia Grubbs
The newborn spent the first five-and-a-half months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
During his stay at ACH, he had to undergo multiple surgeries, including one where an obstruction in his bowel was removed.
“He’s had 22 cm of his bowel removed,” Alicia said.
After dean was discharged from ACH, for the next two-and-a-half years the Grubbs family still needed to take him there for follow-up appointments.
These check-ups were usually monthly, but sometimes Dean needed to be seen as often as every other week.
“Every trip that we would have to make to little rock, you know, we’d be doing it at 3 in the morning and he’d be devastated and he’d be tired and he’s sick and it was just really hard on him,” said Alicia.
Cody said, “It was a lot less traumatic on Dean, also whenever he would have a problem, or just whatever was going on. The entire trip to little rock and back was a lot harder on him then we could ever realize.”
Since the opening of Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW) in Springdale, those appointments that typically required three hour car rides, have instead turned into minute drives for the Grubbs.
“We like the continuity of care, you know, having all of his doctors in once place, it makes it easier,” Alicia said.
The now 5-year-old has utilized the ACNW’S emergency room and it’s now where he goes for his feeding therapy and gastroenterology appointments.
The Grubbs, pregnant now with their third child, said having ACH staff there for their family prior to the birth of their son, has been crucial in his development.
“They made the biggest difference in our lives as far as they were there to take care of Dean but I can’t say enough how much all those nurses and doctors impacted me,” Alicia said.
As part of the annual Give Kids a Miracle Telethon, KNWA/ FOX24 and America’s Car-Mart are raising money for Arkansas Children’s Northwest to benefit kids, like Dean.
Donations can be made by texting ACNW to 51555 or by visiting the website located here from now until March 4.