NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is celebrating one year of seeing that the tiniest of patients become survivors.
You're about to meet one of those babies. But that's not all. East Texas News discovered the mother deserves the title as well.
"He is a happy baby," said Lerin Russell, a survivor of HELLP Syndrome.
Lerin and her husband Collen say that often about their 7-month-old son Logan. The baby is full of surprises, starting with the day he was born.
"Logan was born 7 weeks prematurely," Lerin said.
He was delivered on the day after Christmas, via emergency C-section, where those in the delivery room were planning on delivering a girl, not a boy.
"He went from 3lbs 10oz, which was his birth weight, to 3 lbs, 3 oz. within a matter of days," Lerin said.
The tiny newborn was intubated and placed on a feeding tube, he and remained under the constant care of specially trained nurses at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The life-saving facility had opened just six months earlier.
"He is a little fighter and a miracle," Lerin said.
That was fortunate for Russel, who she was fighting for her own life.
"In Nacogdoches they diagnosed me with HELLP Syndrome," Lerin said. "HELLP IS h-e-l-l-p and it stands for Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes, and Low Platelet count."
Lerin was placed in a medically-induced coma. A liver rupture and cardiac arrest were avoided, but the life-threatening pregnancy complication led to complete organ failure.
"They had kinda mentioned to my family that there was a great possibility that I would not survive, so I think more than anything my family may have started preparing themselves for me not to be here, but thankfully it worked out different," Lerin said.
Lerin was flown to Houston's Memorial Hermann hospital and placed on 24-hour dialysis. The new mother hadn't even seen her son.
"I felt really guilty at certain points in time," Lerin said.
Guilt was soon replaced by distant love. Lerin attributes her mental survival to the many kind gestures from Memorial Hospital's nurses and staff.
They sent a calendar letting Mom know all of Logan's firsts.
"Like the first day he took a bath, the first time his dad got to hold him, the first day he got to see his sister, so all those important things that I kinda missed out on they really helped to make me feel a part of it," Lerin said.
There was a peace of mind.
"He was here where family and friends of ours could still come see him on a daily basis, while I couldn't," Lerin said.
Logan has a fascination with cell phones and for good reason.
"When they would go in to see Logan, they would Facetime me," Lerin said. "And, so he got to hear my voice, even more. So the day I came and picked him up it was like he knew exactly who I was the moment I spoke to him."
Five days short of Logan turning one month old, the mother finally got to see and hold her baby for the very first time.
"Just overwhelming joy to finally be reunited with him and to know that we were both OK, and that I was going to get to hold him many more times, not just that time," Lerin said.
It's a survival story that will certainly fill Logan's baby book and the hearts' of those who love him.
Lerin Russell is still in recovery from HELLP Syndrome. Logan undergoes physical therapy and continues to amaze medical staff.
For more information on HELLP Syndrome, click this link.
Remember, if you have a Survivors story, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.