News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, May 31, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Elizabeth Peed was already a mother of two when baby Gates came along in April.
He was born seemingly healthy, but within hours of his birth, he developed several serious, life-threatening infections.
Not knowing if her baby would survive, the Peeds decided to make the two-hour trip via ambulance from Macon to Augusta and turn to the Children's Hospital of Georgia.
"It was a normal pregnancy, sick, tired, taking care of two little ones at home," Elizabeth explained.
Gates was born on April 4, 2013, at 8 pounds, 10 ounces.
Elizabeth said everything looked fine until they got back to to recovery room.
"He was doing this weird grunting thing," she said. "He did it for quite a few hours, and when the nurse came in, I told her I was concerned and she said, 'Why don't I just take a look at him? We'll take him.' And he didn't come back."
After a couple hours, Elizabeth went looking for Gates.
"They had maybe 20 people surrounding him," she said. "And that was [when] I knew something was wrong."
At that point, things began to deteriorate for Gates.
"Every time Dr. Parish came to our room, it was worse," Elizabeth said. "She said he definitely had pneumonia, which was brought on by an infection. And that the infection was either Group B strep or Listeria."
Dr. Parish gave Elizabeth and her husband a decision.
"[She said] if he doesn't respond, you need to go to either Augusta or Atlanta," Elizabeth said. "And my husband and I immediately thought Augusta."
With the decision made, they began getting ready to transport hours-old baby Gates.
"At about 1 a.m., [Dr. Parish] came by and said, 'He seems to be responding, but if he doesn't, then there won't be enough time to get there,'" Elizabeth said. "... That was really hard to hear."
Gates was transferred to the Children's Hospital of Georgia on April 5, 2013. When they arrived, about 25 personnel began working on Gates and preparing him to go on an ECMO machine.
"On ECMO they take all of the blood out and put it all back in," Elizabeth said. "It was his last shot."
She says the decision to put Gates on ECMO was a difficult one.
"I couldn't understand what was happening, it was like ... I was blank. I was really ... shocked," she said.
But the procedure began to work.
"He just started getting better," Elizabeth said. "Originally, they said we think it's going to be about a 21-day ECMO run. He only had a six-day run on ECMO."
And the ECMO machine helped Gates to survive.
"He feels like a miracle baby!" she said. "He's doing really well, just like a regular newborn. Eating, sleeping, crying, going to the bathroom."
"Our hopes and dreams is just that he is just a normal bright-eyed boy who loves the outdoors and aggravates his sisters," she said.
Now, Elizabeth is just grateful to the Children's Hospital of Georgia for all their hard work.
"The feelings I have towards to Children's Hospital of Georgia are amazing. They were so friendly and made us -- they made us feel special," Elizabeth explained. "They have a lot of heartache, but they have a lot of triumphs. And they have a lot of miracles. And donations and money makes that possible.
Gates continues doing well and, although he is still in physical therapy for stiffness on his right side due to the ECHMO, Elizabeth says doctors say it looks like there won't be any lasting damage from his illness.