'Miracle baby' celebrates his eighth birthday
You could consider Breckin Beauvais's being here a miracle.
Born 16 weeks premature, doctors told his parents that he had less than a 1 percent chance to live.
"They wrote him off so many times," said Scott Beauvais in a 2004 interview with the New Richmond News. "They said to hope for the best, but told us he wasn't going to survive."
Eight years later, Breckin continues to defy the odds.
Watching him in his home, Breckin runs around the living room with his dog, Sparky, a Shorkie Tzu. Although he is small for his age - he weighs 36 pounds - he loves to ride his four-wheeler and is looking forward to trying out his new birthday present, a Hunter Dan bow.
"I get to use it next weekend when me and Daddy go hunting," said Breckin proudly.
Scott was on a hunting trip at the time of this interview.
His mother, Michelle, said that for all intents and purposes, Breckin has been developing normally. He attends Somerset Elementary School, earns good grades and enjoys spending time with friends and family.
It is a far cry from how things looked eight years ago.
Michelle, then 30 years old, had Lupus which caused serious health issues during her pregnancy. The doctors at Children's Hospital of St. Paul, Minn. were in fear for her life if the first-time mother carried Breckin full-term. So the decision was made to bring Breckin into the world at 24 weeks gestation.
He weighed 15 ounces (one ounce under a pound) and measured 11 inches (one inch under a foot).
"The doctors basically told me to be prepared to hold him until he died," said Scott in the 2004 interview. "He had some brain function and his heart was beating, but his liver, kidneys, lungs and other organs hadn't developed enough. I'd go in and see him every 5 minutes and didn't know if he would be alive or not. It was awful."
Because of the underdevelopment, the newborn suffered bone fractures over 80 percent of his body, organ failures repeatedly, staph infections, chronic lung diseases, as well as having heart surgery.
"We had so many problems with him that it wasn't until January that we started to think that he might live," recalled Scott.
And live he did. He was released from the hospital when he was five months old and seven pounds. He came to his home in Somerset for the first time with an oxygen tank, feeding tube, special monitoring system and a full-time caregiver.
Michelle recalled the first night Breckin was home.
"The monitor went off and I was frantic," said Michelle. "I just picked him up, he was choking or something. Then everything went back to normal. I was awake the rest of the night."
Although he still had weekly doctor visits, the frequency decreased as he got stronger. Now he only sees the doctor for routine exams. He does, however, have retinopathy of prematurity which classifies him as legally blind, though he does wear glasses and recently had eye surgery.
"He has special needs at school because of his vision," said Michelle. "But he runs around and plays, so he is still able to be a regular kid."
In fact, he celebrated his eighth birthday at Chuck E. Cheese's and had a sleepover with his best friend, Austin. He has typical 8-year-old likes as well.
When asked his favorite foods, he answered "Psgetti and pizza."
For Christmas, he asked for a snowmobile, a drum and a remote-control boat.
"He loves to sing," said Michelle. "He'll sing in the bathtub and in the car. His likes 'Life is a Highway' from his favorite movie, 'Cars.'"
"That's not my favorite movie," interjected Breckin. "It's 'Garfield.'"
Seems appropriate, especially when you realize that Michelle got the name Breckin from an actor in the movie.
"Not so much for the actor, I just liked the name," she said with a smile. "It's unique."
A perfect name for a child who had a unique start to life.