Thursday, November 20, 2008

A remarkable recovery

The Northeast Times ( a local newspaper here in Philly) did an article about Annalise. The article just came out today, so I thought I would share it with you all.  Enjoy! ~Kelsey
(For the original article you can go to:,)
(Also for the pictures from the photographers blog you can go here:

A remarkable recovery for the miracle child

By Tom Waring 
Times Staff Writer

During her pregnancy, Kelsey Lawrence scheduled all her appointments with a midwife at the Birth Center in Bryn Mawr and was scheduled to give birth at the facility.
However, when she was two weeks overdue, the decision was made to induce delivery at Bryn Mawr Hospital.
Lawrence prepared for an otherwise normal delivery. She continued to work as a musical therapist, and ultrasounds were good.
"Everything looked fine," she said.
Everything was not fine. Baby Annalise was born with a diaphragmatic hernia, a rare birth defect caused by an abnormal opening in the diaphragm, the muscle used for breathing. It is seen in one out of about 3,500 births.
The opening causes part of the abdominal organs, such as the stomach, small intestine, spleen, liver and kidney, to be pushed up into the chest.

After she was born, Annalise developed severe breathing problems and required emergency surgery.
The baby was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children within hours of her birth on Aug. 30, 2007. Kelsey Lawrence and her husband Kevin, of Bustleton, were obviously concerned.
"It’s shocking because you think you have a healthy baby, then they take her away," she said. "It was very overwhelming to see such a little person hooked up to all these things."
Dr. Matthew Moront, chief of the trauma unit at St. Christopher’s, explained to the Lawrences that he could do the surgery using the traditional method of making a large incision in the child’s chest and abdomen.
Or, he could do the surgery by inserting a 5-millimeter camera and two small surgical instruments in her chest and abdomen to push down on the bowel and suture the diaphragm openings from the inside of the body.
The incisions would be painless and a fraction of the size of the traditional procedure and would leave much less bleeding. The scarring would be minimal, the healing time shorter and the chance of infection less.
Moront said the optional surgery is not for everyone.
He would perform the surgery only if the parents understood the risks and benefits. He put the Lawrences in that category. He also would operate on an infant only if she had good vital signs.
"She was a very stable baby," he said of Annalise.
The Lawrences agreed to the surgery, which was performed on the fifth day of their daughter’s life. According to Moront, the surgery was the first of its kind in a Philadelphia-area hospital.
The surgery lasted for about two hours, but it seemed endless for the Lawrences. It was a success, and Annalise was released from the hospital two weeks later after her lungs expanded and recovered and she was able to breathe without assistance.
During her recent one-year checkup, she was found to be totally healthy.
"She’s just done perfect," Moront said.
Moront said the cutting-edge surgery was a success because of the combined efforts of the neonatologist, anesthesiologist, nurses and operating room staff.
"I’d definitely do it again and again," he said.
While all has turned out well for Annalise, her condition could have been life-threatening.
"It’s a very serious congenital anomaly," Moront said. "The mortality can go anywhere from twenty-five to sixty percent, despite our best efforts."
Though Annalise was recovering nicely for 15 days after the surgery, the Lawrences were overjoyed when they received word they could take their first child home.
"It was like we won the lottery," Kelsey Lawrence said. "We were so excited."
Kelsey Lawrence learned the seriousness of the condition while searching the Internet, after her daughter’s successful surgery.
"It’s a good thing I didn’t know that then," she said.
The Lawrences had a lot of support from their family and from fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who fasted and prayed for Annalise.
As for Moront, the parents call him an "amazing doctor" and appreciate the fact that he detailed their choices.
"He didn’t beat around the bushes," Kelsey Lawrence said.At 14 months, Annalise is a friendly baby who is walking, though she still likes to scoot on her bottom. She has two small scars, on her side and back.
"She’s very social," her mom said. "She loves to smile, talk and wave at anybody who comes by."
On Oct. 31, she attended the Phillies World Series championship parade and later that day dressed as a punk rocker for Halloween. She also attends a mom-and-tot group.
Most importantly, she is a healthy baby.
"Everything is now back where it belongs," her mom said. ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or


Kendy said...

Annalise is a miracle. She is truly missed by the Gonzalez family here in Arizona. We are so happy to see her pictures on-line she is getting so big. What a wonderful addition to the Lawrence family when is the next one due......Sike

Love the Gonzalez Family

P.S. Angel wrote this not Kendy but she supervised the comment, miss ya...

Elaine said...

What a miracle and inspiring story.

Doug and Mallena said...

I'm so glad you shared this story. I'm glad they printed such an inspirational story in their paper. A great read!

Patricia said...

Wow, I guess I never really understood the seriousness of the situation. We're so glad everything worked out so well for all of you, especially Annalise! Thanks for posting the story!

Caroline said...

Yea for a happy uplifting newstory! Hopefully they will give you a nice printed copy to treasure forever!

psampson said...

Congratulations on being a celebrity! More than anything I am so glad that Annalise is the miracle baby she is. I read about her condition before her surgery and it totally freaked me out. The Lord has really blessed you guys, and I am so SO glad!

emily a. said...

That is really neat to have for your records. Did they come and take pictures? Annalise is so adorable!

Jonathan and Sarah said...

Hi Kelsey! I found your blog from the Global CDH forum... How amazing a recovery!! Both sides had herniated! My son is now almost 3 & was a RCDH baby... Best wishes!