Tell us your story.
Our journey began before Spencer was born, March 2000. We were told, by doctors in Spokane, that our baby would not live to delivery and even if he did he would not survive more than a few days. We believed in our hearts that the diagnosis was wrong and we continued through our pregnancy, anxiously waiting for our baby boy to arrive. Spencer was born 7 1/2 weeks early, by C-section, in Spokane on June 21, 2000. We believe God was watching over us that day, Dr. Starr suggested we take Spencer to see Dr. Mitchell at Seattle Children's Hospital, we followed her suggestion. Spencer was flown to Children's hospital 24 hours after he was born. Spencer was seen by Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Grady, Dr. Song, and Dr. Loesser, among other specialists. We were finally given a diagnosis and a plan of action was devised. Spencer endured several surgeries, spaced out over several months to allow for his tiny body to grow.
His first surgery was to create a colostomy and bring the two halves of his bladder together (his bladder would remain inside out and on the outside of his body for six more months). We finally brought Spencer home on July 3, 2000. We returned to Children's Hospital several times over the next five months for various surgeries and medical treatments. Christmas 2000 Spencer had the "big" surgery with Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Grady. We ended up staying at Children's for three weeks, waiting for his body to recover from surgery.
Over the last 5 years we have visited Children's for clinic appointments and more surgeries. Two years ago Spencer was fitted for his first wheelchair and we have not been able to keep up with him since that day. Spencer can be seen racing the halls of the hospital; he loves the ramps for speed. Today, Spencer is almost six years old, he is facing more surgeries and an unknown future, but he is doing exceptionally well and very happy.
What does Children's mean to you, your child and your family?
Children's Hospital, Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Song, and Dr. Grady, mean the world to our family. Children's gave us hope and life during a very gloomy time in our lives. I know that without the amazing abilities of our doctors, Spencer would not be with us today. How can we put into words our emotions and gratitude?
When we look back on the journey Spencer has been through, we are so thankful to have had the opportunity to come to Children's Hospital. We know that life would have been very different for all of us had we not been sent to Children's. Spencer's life would not be what it is today without the wonderful doctors and nurses at Children's. No one looks forward to surgeries, but we know at Children's we have an extended family looking over us. Knowing we have support makes our hospital stays much more bearable.
Dr. Mitchell has spent time getting to know, not only Spencer, but all of the children he has treated for Exstrophy. Our support group has a camp out every year, Dr. Mitchell can be seen at these camp outs visiting with the children and parents, participating in a jump rope contest, or just enjoying watching the children play. He is more than a doctor, he has an emotional connection with 'his' kids, and the children love him in return. You can't measure that with a "thank-you". He is a doctor giving his whole heart for the children he treats. That is what Children's Hospital represents, compassion and heart.