Mothers never forget the birth of their babies. They count down the days, anxiously waiting the time when they get to care for and hold their new child. But when babies arrive prematurely, it can worry some mothers because this […]
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Preemie Baby Born Weighing 1 pound Now Works for Disney

by Jill Taylor on November 26, 2014

in Patient and Staff Stories

josh1Mothers never forget the birth of their babies. They count down the days, anxiously waiting the time when they get to care for and hold their new child. But when babies arrive prematurely, it can worry some mothers because this was not the delivery they had anticipated.

In honor of preemie awareness month, one mother tells of her son’s remarkable story and successful life despite being born four months early.

It was September 18, 1983 when Kathy Hadeler delivered her son Joshua Crawford, a preemie baby weighing 1 pound 6.5 ounces at Scott & White Memorial Hospital.

“I have been very blessed that Josh had no major problems from being so tiny,” says Kathy. “I received this miracle 31 years ago when we were told he had less than a 50 percent chance to live when he was born. I knew in my heart he was going to be ok.”

Seeking out Specialized Care

From the time she found out she was pregnant, Kathy decided she was going to need specialized care. Sadly, she had lost two babies prior to Josh’s birth, and one was earlier the same year. When she was expecting Josh, her parents encouraged her to have this pregnancy closely monitored so she didn’t lose another baby.

Kathy, a resident of Waco, drove down to Temple for her obstetrics visits. She spoke highly of her doctor and things were on track for a healthy baby.

Then on her birthday, September 8, she started to feel labor pains. Her mother encouraged her to go to the hospital, feeling her stomach and telling Kathy these were contractions. The staff at Scott & White closely monitored her for ten days until Josh was born via emergency c-section.

“I wasn’t too nervous,” says Kathy. “My faith was strong I had a good feeling about it the whole time. My mother was very strong person and very supportive so a lot of that came from her.”

Miracle Baby

Shortly after Josh was born, his weight fell below 1 pound. He weighed 15.5 ounces. They had to perform a surgery called a cut down line in his throat, as the IV needles did not work for a baby with veins his size. Kathy visited him every day in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and counted down the hours and days until he was able to come home. During their stay in the NICU, she would hold Josh’s small hand and stay as long as she could.

“Your baby knows your touch and they know your voice,” says Kathy. “It is upsetting and it can be hard to look at them when they’re like that, but it is really good for them to hear your voice and feel your touch.”

As he grew, Kathy was able to get Josh out and hold him. She would put lotion on his tiny body and help the nurses give him his bath. There are a number of babies born prematurely, but Josh was rather small. They tried to stay positive and look forward to the day when he could leave the NICU and come home.

“I was really afraid we wouldn’t be bonded because he was in the NICU, but we have a very strong bond,” says Kathy. “We are very close.”

Hope for Preemie Babies

During their five-month stay, Kathy and her family not only looked after Josh, but also rocked other babies in the NICU at Scott & White. Now, the hospital has expanded to include McLane Children’s Hospital, giving hope to many more babies born prematurely.

“Back in 1983 people were saying, babies that were born Josh’s size there’s nothing they can do. At Scott & White it was a whole different world. They said there was a chance.”

This made Kathy feel optimistic and hopeful. She said one nurse even told her that “Josh was in the lucky bed,” so he would do just fine.

“Scott & White really is a wonderful place,” says Kathy. “I think it’s just remarkable they have a children’s hospital now. I had the best nurses in the world in the NICU unit and they made all the difference.”

Josh was able to leave Scott & White in January, as his weight reached above 5 pounds.

The Magic Continues

josh2As a child, Josh was very smart and successful with no major complications from his premature birth. When he started school, he even scored high enough to be in the gifted and talented program. Kathy wrote a letter to his pediatrician to tell of Josh’s success, and his doctor, Dr. Charles Oltorf, was happy to hear the news.

“He knows he’s lucky to be alive,” says Kathy. “We talk every day, and I go to visit when I can.”

Josh is now 31 years old, living in Orlando and working for Disney. At Disney, he works with recreational event planning. He is able to organize activities for children and recreate magic every day of his life.

Josh is coming home over the holidays and his mother is thrilled any time she gets to see her miracle baby all grown up.


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