Sioux FallsRapid City

Four babies with feet smaller than a wedding band…

There was nothing like Children’s Care Hospital & School where Trevor and Kelley Lehfeldt lived. No one ever expects to need Children’s Care Hospital and School. But we are here for families like the Lehfeldts once they discover they need specialized, pediatric therapies for their children.

When Kelley was six weeks pregnant she was told there were 4 embryos. Doctors said not all the embryos would probably develop, and those that had a 75% chance of gestating to 30 weeks, the earliest that doctors wanted to deliver the babies. Kelley continued with monthly appointments throughout the pregnancy.

At 24 ½ weeks, Kelley didn’t feel right and went to the hospital. Doctors told her she was having Braxton-Hicks contractions (false contractions that prepare the body for delivery). They didn’t examine her, but simply sent her home.

Born Too Early

Lance, Lilley, Keaton and Jonah’s hands were smaller than a wedding band.

Lance, Lilley, Keaton and Jonah’s hands were smaller than a wedding band.

Two days later her water broke for baby Lance. At the hospital, staff panicked. They had her back and forth between surgery and her room trying to decide whether to deliver only Lance and try to hold the other babies in the womb.

Trying to deliver only one of the babies was too risky and all four babies were delivered. The delivery room was crowded with a doctor, nurse, and respiratory therapist for each baby and doctors for Kelley.

Lance weighed 1 lb.9 oz. Lilley weighed 1 lb. 6.5 oz. Keaton weighed 1 lb. 7.75 oz., and Jonah weighed 1 lb. 11 oz. Kelley and Trevor were told the babies had only a 20% chance of surviving and that Lance would most certainly die.

Lance Lehfeldt and his siblings were smaller than their dad Trevor’s hand when they were first born.

Lance Lehfeldt and his siblings were smaller than their dad Trevor’s hand when they were first born.

All four of the babies had life-threatening health problems. All of them needed help breathing as soon as they were born. They were all on ventilators with collapsed lungs. In the first year they had over 30 surgeries.

Coming Home
Lilley, Keaton and Lance went home when they were 3 ½ months old. Kelley and Trevor were overjoyed to bring their babies home, but they were also scared.

At 1 year old, Keaton, Lance, Jonah and Lilley are growing and overcoming their physical challenges

At 1 year old, Keaton, Lance, Jonah and Lilley are growing and overcoming their physical challenges

They learned how to use the medical equipment to check oxygen saturation levels and sleep apnea and monitor the babies’ well-being. Kelley and Trevor expected a lot from their three older children (Christian – 10; Jase – 4, and Tanna-3). “They learned to pitch in and help in ways children that age are seldom expected to,” said Kelley. “Nobody can care for the younger ones like my own kids. Tanna, at 8 years old now, can handle anything.”

Jonah
Jonah remained on a ventilator longer than the other three. He came home from the hospital shortly after his 1st birthday. The hospital wouldn’t discharge him without a nurse but neither their insurance plan nor Medicaid would pay for a nurse. They finally were able to get a 24-hour-a-day nurse for the first 60 hours Jonah was home.

Little Jonah was home for four months. The week before he was scheduled to have his ventilator trach removed, he turned his head in the night while sleeping and disconnected it. Kelley worked to revive him, an ambulance came, and he was put on life support. He had been without oxygen for too long. They disconnected the life support and Jonah passed away in Kelley’s arms. He was 15 months old.

The Move to Sioux Falls
The Lehfeldts were living out of state at the time and knew they needed to move to Sioux Falls to be closer to the medical care their children would need as they grew up. There was nothing like Children’s Care Hospital & School where they lived. Children’s Care has been there for Lance, Lilley and Keaton helping them discover new skills. “They began making great progress when Children’s Care started treating them. They began to thrive,” said Kelley. Children’s Care Hospital & School provides physical, occupational and speech therapy services for the children. Lilley also receives orthotic and seating and positioning services from Children’s Care Rehabilitation Medical Supply.

Lance
Lance is a miracle child, a mystery to physicians. He wasn’t expected to survive, walk or talk. He’s doing all three very well. Because of a hemorrhage when he was born and a hole in his heart he has slight cerebral palsy tendencies. He receives physical therapy at Children’s Care. He is getting stronger. He should grow up to be completely independent. He currently attends half-day kindergarten.

Keaton
Keaton has some sight but is legally blind. He is learning Braille and attends half-day kindergarten. He should be able to live independently. He attends physical therapy with Lance because it makes it more fun and motivating for his brother.

Lilley
Lilley has no sight, and uses a wheelchair. She has cerebral palsy. She is learning new skills like picking up small objects through occupational therapy sessions. She also works on getting stronger in the heated pool with physical therapy. Before coming to Children’s Care Trevor and Kelley were told Lilley would never walk or even sit up. With the help of a walker and dedicated therapists at Children’s Care, she is learning how to bear weight on her legs and will hopefully walk someday. Lilley is also learning Braille and attends half-day kindergarten with her brothers.

Lance, Keaton and Lilley started half-day kindergarten this year. They are all developing new independence skills and learning every day.

Lance, Keaton and Lilley started half-day kindergarten this year. They are all developing new independence skills and learning every day.

Children’s Care gives Lance, Keaton and Lilley independence. “They don’t tell us what the kids won’t be able to do, they believe in our kids and make things happen,” said Trevor.

Help Children’s Care Hospital & School continue to discover and encourage every child’s abilities. Donate to Children’s Care Hospital and School today and make a difference in the lives of children like Lance, Keaton, and Lilley.

Comments (2)

  1. Papa Rapp wrote:

    These are three of my grandbabies, there are ten more and they all are so very near to my heart. All I want for Christmas is for Jonah to be with his brothers,sisters and cousins…thanx…Mitch

    Posted 07 Dec 2010 at 4:27 pm
  2. Brandy Arnett wrote:

    I would just like to thank you for putting this story online for people to read, I had a daughter in june of 09 and she was stillborn due to holes in her heart. I am currently 8 months pregnant with another little girl that is doing great and it makes me so happy to see success stories like this. My boyfriend’s brother just had his second daughter with his girlfriend. She was 28 weeks and lil gracie was 2 lbs 7oz. She was not expected to live. She is now gaining her weight back and doing well. Thanks for your story it helps the families out there have hope for their little ones!

    Posted 06 Sep 2011 at 3:33 pm

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