Tashia Martina and Kevin Hampton believe in the power of prayer. And after the birth of their first born, Kiley, they relied on it.
Tashia’s pregnancy was healthy and Kiley’s delivery began as a normal one on the morning of February 12, 2011 at Tallahasse Memorial Hospital. Kiley’s heart rate began to drop and Tashia was instructed to flip over, and flip over again, in hopes of stabilizing her baby’s heart rate.
With Kiley’s heart rate continuing to drop, Dr. McAlpine performed an emergency cesarean section.
“If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be here now,” Hampton said of Dr. McAlpine.
Baby Kiley was brought into the world at 5:21 a.m. Happy about the birth of their daughter, Tashia and Kevin knew something wasn’t right and were worried about their newborn girl.
“When I first saw her, I’ve never seen a baby like that,” Hampton said of his baby girl. “I don’t think anyone thought she would make it.”
According to her parents, Kiley was born without a heartbeat and without steady breathing. She was born with a condition called hypoxicischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Babies born with this condition suffer from a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain. The doctors cleaned her up and immediately brought her to Pediatric Critical Care.
After hearing of a body cooling technique conducted at Shands Healthcare at the University of Florida, Martina and Hampton agreed to send their newborn daughter there. Just an hour after she was born, Kiley was taken to Shands at 6:30 a.m. by helicopter.
Upon arrival, Kiley was placed under the care of neonatologist Michael Weiss, M.D., and his team to undergo systemic hypothermia treatment. This treatment cooled Kiley’s body for a period of 72 hours and then slowly re-warmed her body to normal temperature.
“I think the scariest part about this was the whole cooling process and re-warming her,” Hampton said. “Worrying and wondering what was going to happen. And then it’s been getting better ever since.”
After a temporary pause in Kiley’s re-warming process due to seizures, she was re-warmed to normal temperature. Kiley continued to progress every day. Her parents were proud to report that at six days old, she began sucking on her pacifier.
Martina and Hampton believe they wouldn’t have been able to stay in Gainesville without the support and prayers of their family and friends. Martina said there are around 1,000 people praying for Kiley every day. In addition to prayers, friends and family raised money for Martina and Hampton to stay in Gainesville during Kiley’s treatment.
“This was the best place for her to be,” Martina said. “Everyone has been so nice and so helpful.”
Martina and Hampton were thrilled to take their baby daughter home to Tallahassee on February 18.
“Go home and love her, never let her go and follow up with her appointments,” Hampton said of the family’s next step upon departing Shands.
“Don’t give up hope,” Martina advises parents who have babies embarking on the cooling treatment.
As of March 30, Martina reports Kiley is doing great. She is almost eight pounds and gaining weight quickly. Kiley will be on seizure medication until she is six months old as a precautionary measure.
Martina and Hampton love having their “little miracle” home and are looking forward to watching her meet future milestones.