BURLINGTON — Rowan Roussy has had more than his share of ups and downs during his first 18 months of life.
Rowan was born 11 weeks premature, and at 2 pounds, 8 ounces, he was ill-prepared to face the challenges of life outside his mother’s womb.
“He has had his issues since being born,” said Rowan’s mom, Hannah Bushey, from the Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen. Since late February, Rowan has spent most of his time there as he awaits a complex surgical procedure to adjust problems with the position of his brain and spinal cord.
“He’s a happy baby,” she said of the young child’s inherent determination to survive. “He smiles constantly; even now while he’s been stuck in the hospital, he’s the happiest kid.”
Rowan required his first surgery within 24 hours of birth as doctors tried to adjust a serious problem with spina bifida, an incomplete development of the spinal cord or its covering.
His brain also suffered irreparable damage during his first week of life due to a lack of oxygen, and he had to undergo several surgeries to relieve pressure on his brain caused by excess fluid buildup.
Those conditions, as well as setbacks with Rowan’s physical and mental development, almost seemed secondary on Feb. 25 when another issue developed.
“When he would cry at home, he’d sometimes hold his breath and make himself pass out,” Bushey said of a developing concern. “This would usually last five to 10 seconds, and he’d snap out of it. But this last time, it lasted almost 45 seconds and required CPR from my boyfriend (Rowan’s father, Jason Roussy).”
Bushey immediately called 911 when her son initially did not respond, but by the time emergency-medical personnel arrived, Rowan was conscious, alert and his usual happy self.