- Associated Press - Monday, June 30, 2014

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (AP) - A little girl who had spent her entire life in a hospital was finally released after 834 days of treatment.

Born 2 1/2 years ago with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia that stunted the growth of her right lung, Allie Freeman was flown to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in the hours after she was born at Baptist Health Medical Center-Arkadelphia.

Her parents, Jason and Ashley, and older sister, Mya, were by her side the whole time. The Arkadelphia community even showed an outpour of support with a “Rally for Allie” carnival fundraiser.

After numerous scares and brushes with the unthinkable, this strong-willed baby persevered. She was discharged from ACH on May 7 to finally go to her waiting home in Hot Springs.

The transition went smoothly after a short while. “The first two days she was kinda acting like she didn’t really know what was going on,” Jason, a teacher and coach at Cutter Morning Star, told The Daily Siftings Herald (https://bit.ly/1qz4KJC).

“She sat around and didn’t do much. But after that she absolutely loved it; she is so happy, so playful.” She seems to love home so much that she now “throws a big fit” when she goes in for a checkup at the hospital, Jason said. “I think she loves it at home,” where Ashley is now a stay-at-home mom.

One of the first things doctors did in treating Allie was insert a tracheostomy, which she still has to wear. Because of it, she has been unable to talk or even vocalize much. But for each shortcoming, a blessing waits: she learned to communicate with mom, dad and sister via sign language.

“She’s still doing her sign language,” Jason said, adding that Allie is now able to make some sounds. “She can say ‘Hi,’ and she said ‘what’ the other day,” Jason said, adding that it isn’t certain when the tracheostomy can be removed.

Doctors “haven’t even discussed that yet,” he said. “But hopefully sooner than later.”

Allie’s road to complete recovery is still going to be a long one. Her undeveloped lung still hasn’t grown much, and she’s still on 15 medications. But one of the main concerns is a pulmonary hypertension - an abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of her working lung. “That wasn’t seen at the last checkup” on June 5, Jason said. “We got the best report then that we’ve ever gotten.”

Since coming home, Allie has begun to “adapt and come around to” her grandparents, aunts and uncles without mom and dad right at her side. Mentally, she’s “sharp” and knows her colors and shapes; she’s even learning to count now. She is still learning to walk.

But she hasn’t been out of the house much on account of the array of medical equipment she still relies on. “We’ve not gotten out to see a lot of people,” Jason said. “We’ve taken her to Walmart twice.”

Getting out and about with Allie isn’t high priority right now. What matters most to this family is that she’s home. “We didn’t think we would ever get to take her home,” Jason said, thanking God for this “definite miracle.”

“I thank Him every day for it,” he said. “My biggest fear is for her to go back (to the hospital). It would absolutely kill her. She does not want to be without Momma and Daddy now. I’m so thankful to God and all the people that prayed for her, and the doctors.”

Jason summed up Allie’s triumph in two simple words.

“It’s amazing.”


Information from: The Daily Siftings Herald, https://www.siftingsherald.com/

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