For the next two years, Bryant and Abbi continued to pray for and pursue a pregnancy that would result in the child that they longed to cherish. In June of 2014 those prayers were answered. Abbi was pregnant for a third time, but new challenges were just around the corner.
At 20 weeks, Abbi was referred to a specialist out of concern that sweet baby Odom wasn’t growing as fast as necessary. That specialist determined that Abbi was carrying an excessive amount of amniotic fluid within the womb and that the baby was not properly regulating that fluid due to a malformation of the esophagus. Abbi was diagnosed with Polyhydramnios, a medical condition that occurs in only about 1% of pregnancies. The excessive accumulation of fluid that comes from Polyhydramnios can trick the body into thinking that it is further along in a pregnancy than it actually is, resulting in pre-term labor.
During a routine visit at 31 weeks, it was discovered that Abbi’s amniotic fluid had increased dramatically and that her cervix was extremely thin. Abbi’s body had fallen for Polyhydramnios’ trick and she was transported to the hospital for fetal monitoring and to determine if contractions had begun.
On December 30, 2014, Charlotte “Charley” Linn Odom was born by means of an emergency C-section, due to a dropping and sporadic heart rate. She weighed 3 pounds and 5 ounces. Charley had spent 31 weeks growing in the safety of Abbi’s womb, but she could grow there no longer and entered this world 9 weeks sooner than expected.
Amidst all of the rejoicing at the birth of precious little Charley, the Odom’s trials were not over. As Charley was born she was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for further evaluation and necessary life support systems. The esophageal issues that had been suspected by the specialist were now clearly seen by the hospital’s medical team. Charley was born with aTracheoesophageal Fistula (TE Fistula) – a gap in the middle of the esophagus which prohibits food and fluid from finding its way to her tiny little tummy. 36 hours after being born, little Charley underwent surgery to repair the TE Fistula. The surgery was a success, but the road to recovery will not be swift. Charley will spend anywhere from 6 to 8 more weeks in the hospital’s NICU.
While Bryant and Abbi have adequate health insurance by some standards, the costs of Abbi’s C-section, Charley’s surgery and her long term care in the NICU will stretch their policy’s out-of-pocket maximum allowance well beyond its borders. Another exacerbating issue is that since this hospital journey began on December 30, 2014 and continues into 2015, both the 2014 and 2015 deductibles and maximums will be utilized.
The Odoms live in Cullowhee, North Carolina where Bryant coaches the Western Carolina University golf team and Abbi is a third grade teacher at a local charter school. They have been in North Carolina for only a year and a half. Because of that, Abbi has accrued little sick leave – not nearly enough to support this necessary extended absence. She will miss over 11 weeks of work as she cares for the needs of her newborn.
Bryant and Abbi are hardworking people. They labor well at the jobs that they have been given and seek to be wise stewards of all that has been entrusted to them. In spite of all that, they find themselves needing some help in order to meet the financial needs that are providentially being written upon the pages of their story. For years this husband and wife team has dreamed of becoming a mom and dad team. That dream is now being realized, but at great expense.
Would you please join Bryant and Abbi in praying for the ever increasing health and strength of little Charley? Would you also consider coming alongside team Odom financially as they face the mounting medical bills of bringing their baby home?
Your prayers, your gifts, and your words of encouragement are cherished by Charley’s mom and dad, as well as by those of us who love them! Thanks for your support!
- The Healys
- Joe and Laura Feuer
- Brian Hawver
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