Local baby defies medical odds

Local baby defies medical odds

It wasn't a typical 40 week pregnancy for K'Nell Engle.

"Whenever I was 24 weeks I was high risk for delivering, so they admitted me here to Covenant Women's and Children's," Engle said.

That was due to a shortened cervix, then three weeks later...

"I was dilated to a five and was about to deliver," Engle said.

A preemie born 13 weeks was sure to have issues, so K'Nell Engle's doctor came into her room to do the one thing they hadn't done… give the first time mom a little peace of mind.

"He sat there on the bed and held my hand and I will never forget that; and it's just something that's real special to me," Engle said.

The NICU team and charge nurse, Mandy Lee, were ready.

"Suddenly the emergency light went off and we were able to send our emergency team up to the delivery because Knox was needing a little more support than what we had intended," Lee said.

"They were giving my baby chest compressions and everyone was just acting like hey it's okay, everything is fine," Engle said.

K'Nell and husband Tyler knew they were in good hands.

"I was gonna be responsible for making sure Tyler was updated and keeping him in the loop of what was going on and assuring him that Knox was going to be getting the best care," Lee said.

After being born thirteen weeks early and stuck in the birth canal, doctors wanted to check on Knox's “soft spot.”

"Just to make sure there wasn't any bleed or hydrocephalus which is really common in premature babies... and everything looked okay, but the report wasn't very clear. The doctor wanted to go ahead and repeat it," Engle said.

A week later the family went from thinking...

"at least it's not a bleed, at least it's not hydrocephalus," Engle said.

To facing...

"T grade four intraventricular bleed with hydrocephalus, which is the worst type of brain bleed for premature babies," Engle said.

Knox's head swelling continued to worsen and he had his first neurosurgery at just three days old. 

"They decided to put in a reservoir... the best way to describe it is almost like a port where it tunneled into his right ventricle, but it was covered by skin so that they could go in and poke a needle into the top of his head and they were able to pull out fluid to drain that hydrocephalus that wasn't able to drain on it's own," Engle said.

And there were additional challenges.

"With a grade four bleed and hydrocephalus, it's 99% of the time you're going to need a v-p shunt to drain it," Engle said.

But since Knox wasn't four pounds yet, surgery wasn’t an option… Knox needed a miracle and he got one, determined by his doctor.

"He was just ecstatic! He's like it's not near as bad as we thought it was, like it's looking good. I don't think he needs a shunt... that was a big step in the right direction when  everything was just chaos for awhile," Engle said.

During Knox's 93 days in the NICU, the family made bonds that they'll cherish forever.

"we're able to pray with our families and so i think that that leads to lots of great relationships after the baby leaves the nicu" (covenant nurse)

Knox was able to have the reservoir removed at 11 months old. Now with the help of occupational, speech and physical therapy K'nell said the sky is the limit for Knox. He'll be able to live a full normal life, spreading joy along the way.

"This kid is the sweetest, happiest, most joyful kid I've ever been around. And I know I'm biased but I even have people tell me, you know, wow he is just such a joy to keep. He just pushes me to be better and try to be a happy positive influence on others too," Engle said.

Knox turned two this month and is continuing to make strides in walking and talking each day.

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