Braxton’s Big Journey

My name is Amber and I am married to a very sweet, supportive man named Bryant. Together, we have three beautiful kids and are expecting our fourth. His name is Braxton, and this is his story.

We waited a long time before we got pregnant with Braxton, and when we found out we were expecting, we were ecstatic. The pregnancy rocked long as a typical, textbook pregnancy should. At 30 weeks gestation, we went in for a routine ultrasound and we were informed that Braxton had a defect known as congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). At first, we were first told he had no chance of survival outside of the womb. As you can imagine, we were crushed; beyond devastated. We had to return his car seat that we thought we would bring him home in, and instead of nursery colors, we had to start talking about coffins and a funeral for our newborn. A few long weeks later, we found a doctor from John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Florida who specialized in CDH and was willing to give our precious Braxton Van a fighting chance! We were over the moon!

Now, however, we have had to leave everything, including our other three kids, our home, my husband’s job, a support system, friends and family and move 1,200 miles from home. Since I’m not really allowed to stay in the hospital housing alone (the Ronald McDonald House), Bryant left his job to stay with me and help with the pregnancy.. Unfortunately, there aren’t any jobs around here in the field he works in, and, honestly, it isn’t feasible for him to try and work since Braxton could arrive any day now and this is such a high risk pregnancy. Also, his job didn’t provide insurance, so now, we not only have large out of pocket medical expenses, but we still have all of our expenses back home to take care of; utilities, vehicle payments, provisions for our other children while they stay with other family members and go to school. There were also moving expenses and everyday living expenses we have here. Once Braxton is born, he will have an immediate and indefinite NICU stay (months) as well as an intricate and major surgery to move his organs into their proper positions; Braxton’s heart is on the wrong side of his body which is normal for this condition but means both lungs haven’t gotten to grow. His stomach, spleen and bowels will need to be moved down out of his chest cavity into their respective positions during that surgery as well.

Since I am already 36 weeks, we are beginning to run out of time. We picked up some insurance before we came down here, but the premiums are super high and again, without a job, what we had in savings will be eaten up quickly, as the medical expenses of months in the NICU and a major surgery for our little man add up.

So, the bottom line is this: whether we like it or not, as hard as this is for us to do, we need to ask for help. We have always prided ourselves in being able to be self-sufficient and always provide for our family, but we have reached a point, when we need help. Anything would be fantastic. We understand that times are tough, and we truly appreciate anything you could help us with. If you’re not comfortable with giving online, Visa gift cards, to help with gas and groceries, would also be greatly appreciated. And, if a monetary donation is not something you can do, we completely understand. We would greatly appreciate all of your prayers for little man and his big journey.



  • Lester Troyer 
    • $500 
    • 42 mos
  • Brittany-Adam Keeling 
    • $40 
    • 42 mos
  • Terry Stone 
    • $500 
    • 42 mos
  • Jerry Powell 
    • $500 
    • 43 mos
  • Emily Butcher 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
See all

Organizer

Amber Howell 
Organizer
Elk City, OK
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