Ronald McDonald House
Happy Baby Jaedyn Is a Fighter
By Gene Davis
Little Jaedyn Chikahiro breaks into a huge smile without much prompting. She has a sweet disposition that draws people to her. The baby girl, who celebrated her first birthday at the Ronald McDonald House on May 17 with family and RMHC-HI staff, is “from” Kauai although she hasn’t had the chance to set foot there yet in her life. Born with omphalocele, which means that her intestines were outside of her body but still in a sac, Jaedyn has been in Kapiolani hospital or nearby, since birth, while doctors performed the surgeries and therapies sh’e has needed to survive.
She was finally released from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit after eight months and moved into the Carter Unit. Three months later, she was able to be treated on an outpatient basis, and she and her mother Jenna were joined by her grandmother Holly and great grandmother Lyndel at the Ronald McDonald House. So for a time there were four generations all staying together at the House.
Jaedyn still has two tubes protruding from her little body. One is a port for doctors to quickly access her bloodstream to administer medication if necessary. The other is a feeding tube giving her gradual nourishment around the clock. She is starting to try solid food, but having never tasted it before the textures and flavors need getting used to.
Mom Jenna is going on 20, looks younger, but in life experiences she is very much an adult. “I was about three months pregnant when we found out something was wrong. At first the doctors thought it was a cyst, but as the months went on it grew and they were able to identify the condition.”
Jaedyn was full term and when it was time for her to be born, doctors at Kapiolani knew what to expect and were ready. Jenna recounted what happened when she arrived on Oahu, and gave birth: “When Jaedyn was born, the doctors covered her intestines with a plastic mesh to keep it moist. Later, they cut the sac open and her intestines actually fit back inside her body nicely, but they discovered that her large and small intestines were not connected. That complication meant they had to cut a hole in her side to allow her waste to drain. After a month they were able to reconnect the two intestines and she’s been doing great since then.”
The family still doesn’t know when they will be able to head home. Jenna said that she hopes when they get Jaedyn off of her I.V. they can finally take her home. “The feeding tube thing will take longer.” Jaedyn will still need physical therapy for a while because she spent so long in the NICU crib that she never had the chance to move around.
Jenna is thankful for all the support she has received from her and boyfriend Jase’s families, and the new friends she has made while staying at the Ronald McDonald House.
“Family members have taken a lot of stress off me, and it’s meant a lot. Staying here with other families has been comforting too. You’re not alone; you get to know each other and share experiences. It’s good. Staying at the Ronald McDonald House has been really helpful, and we will remember our time here always.” §