Third time’s a charm

Patient Stories

For years, Janece Henson had heard good things about Texas Children’s. She even witnessed her brother have a life-changing experience at the hospital when he was a child.

But it wasn’t until this past summer that she truly understood — in a personal way — why Texas Children’s reputation is unmatched.

Janece’s journey began when she was 27 weeks pregnant. She struggled to maintain her blood pressure and on a particularly stressful day, she went into labor prematurely. It was January 26, 2022, when she delivered her daughter, Emma Rose, in College Station.

“She was 1 lb and 9 ounces when she was born,” Janece said. “She was diagnosed with chronic lung disease and had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for several months.”

Emma Rose’s doctors recommended that she undergo a tracheotomy and referred her to another hospital, where she remained in the NICU for another three months while waiting to get strong enough to have the procedure. “But when it was time for her to have the surgery,” Janece said, “the doctors discovered another complication: a hole in my daughter’s heart. It was a very trying time.”

Emma Rose had an atrial septal defect (ASD), a congenital condition in which there is a hole in the wall that divides the upper chambers of the heart.

Janece said she and her family were starting to get weary when the medical staff recommended another transfer to give baby Emma the best chance of survival. Janece had to choose between two hospitals at this point, and because of the positive outcome that her brother had at Texas Children’s years earlier, she chose to come to Houston. In July, her daughter was admitted to the Newborn Center.

“The difference in my daughter’s care was clear and immediate,” Janece said. “Within a few days of arriving, Emma Rose received surgery for her ASD and was also put on an intense breathing treatment regimen. The difference was night and day.”

Texas Children’s Newborn Center physicians say that Emma Rose’s improvements have been so dramatic that she will not need the tracheotomy. She is now receiving additional oxygen through a nasal tube and is learning to eat by mouth, which is remarkable given her medical history. 

“They are talking about sending her home soon,” the first-time mom said excitedly. “My baby is doing 100 times better and that’s all thanks to Texas Children’s. I am so grateful.”

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