Cares For Kids: Miracle Kid Ben Tulgan
Rochester, N.Y. - One-year-old Ben Tulgan was born on a mission.
“He is amazing. He's already exceeded pretty much all of our expectations,” said Sasha Tulgan, Ben’s mother.
While on vacation, Sasha's water broke. She was 24 weeks pregnant.
“We kind of had to make a quick decision. Do we try to risk four hours driving back to Rochester or do we go to a local community hospital?”, said Sasha.
The Tulgans ended up at the nearest hospital where doctors were reluctant to let them leave, but the Tulgans knew they wanted to be closer to home.
They made it back home and two weeks later, Ben was born.
That's when the challenges began.
“Not only was he born very early but mom's membranes ruptured a few weeks before she delivered and the fluid, the amniotic fluid that the baby is bathed in typically helps lungs develop,” Professor of Neonatology at Golisano Children’s Hospital, Dr. Patricia Chess said.
Ben's lungs were underdeveloped. At birth, he wasn't breathing or moving and his heart rate was low.
“People could give us predictions but no one could tell us what's going to happen with your particular set of circumstances. We knew it was going to be a long road,” said Sasha.
Ben would recover, but there would be more setbacks. “We would kind of celebrate getting beyond one milestone and there'd be another challenge," said Sasha.
Some of his organs were failing. He also had a hole in his aorta that doctors were hesitant to close surgically because he was fragile. So fragile, in fact, that Ben's parents couldn't hold him until he was one month old.
“It took at least two nurses to position him to put him on our chest and make sure to keep him stable while we were holding him. It was a lovely experience, but it was nerve wracking because if you moved in one direction, you might move a tube out of place and we didn't want to hurt him,” said Sasha.
Despite the odds, Ben fought back.
Two surgeries, nine blood transfusions and five months later, Ben was ready to go home - two weeks before his dad's birthday.
“Seeing where he was and where he is now, I can't imagine loving him anymore but I have such admiration for him. He's truly my hero. He fought all the odds,” said Adam Tulgan, Ben's father.
“He beat the odds. He clearly beat the odds and it's even more exciting when you send a baby that the odds were not in his favor, home to a family that loves him unconditionally,” said Dr. Chess.
The Tulgans didn't know what the future would hold. They now have a future with Ben and Ben’s younger brother, whom they welcomed to the world in October.
To support patients like Ben and the new improvements at the hospital, you can donate online here.
Be sure to watch Thursday as we join our radio partners Mix 100.5 and WHAM1180 for the Cares for Kids Radiothon.