A sudden illness leaves a 9-year-old girl in the hospital for more than a month. The family is enjoying a holiday homecoming, but the celebration comes in the wake of some dark moments.
Just a month ago, 9-year-old Natalia Hockett was on a ventilator, fighting for her life. Doctors believe after she hit her head, she developed a severe blood disorder that caused excessive bruising and bleeding in Natalia's brain.
Now, she begins a road to recovery and is heading home for the first time in more than a month. But, that road to recovery has not been easy for Natalia.
“I was terrified and overwhelmed. Very overwhelmed. So it was hard,” said Natalia's mother, Laura Pitts.
Pitts says a few months ago, her daughter started to develop bruises that she couldn't explain. Doctors said Natalia had a dangerously low platelet count and needed to be rushed to the emergency room as soon as possible.
“The worst case scenario happened the day after I had my baby. She developed a brain bleed, and without her not being able to clot, she had to go to the ICU,” said Pitts.
Natalia was in ICU and had to have surgery to remove her spleen at the same hospital where her mother gave birth to her baby sister just hours earlier.
“When they brought her back out of surgery, they were unable to remove her off the ventilator because they had to give her so many platelets and blood infusions. They think it settled in her lungs,” said Pitts.
Her daughter went into acute respiratory distress and had to be put on dialysis because Natalia's kidneys began to shut down. Doctors weren't sure if the 9-year-old was going to make it.
“I've already lost a baby and I was really scared,” said Pitts. “I guess I just had enough people praying because she just started getting better.”
After a week, doctors were able to take Natalia off the ventilator and cat scans began to come back normal. Now it was time for rehabilitation.
“Walking, eating, dressing, grooming, showering, the basic things. Her disorder actually set her back in those areas,” said Christine Onaolapo, a nurse at The Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethany.
“Oh, she was fighting hard. She's incredibly strong,” said Pitts. “I know it was prayer.”
“I just get to start doing more normal things,” said Natalia.
Natalia's still on oxygen because of the respiratory distress and still has to take it easy. The family is raising money for "Hospital and Home Support.”