DELL RAPIDS, S.D. (KELO) – It can be tough on any parent- having your child spend time in the hospital. For one KELOLAND family, they’re all too familiar with the visits. When the Grav family’s 3-year-old daughter Saige was born, the connection to her esophagus and stomach was not attached.
Three year old Saige Grav and her twin sister Sawyer, along with their brother Brecken keep their parents busy.
From the looks of all this fun they’re having, you’d never guess Saige has been in and out of the hospital all her life.
“She was born with tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia. And it means that her connection to the esophagus and the stomach was not attached, and then there was a fistula which was causing it to go to her trachea instead, so they repaired that when she was two days old,” mom Brianna Grav said.
“Just connected her esophagus to her stomach and then they closed off where it was connected to her trachea and that went very well, she was sedated for nine days so that she couldn’t move and rip it apart, which was tough to see her there and not opening her eyes for that long, but she’s here,” dad, Brodie Grav said.
But that wasn’t all Saige went through.
“Later on she ended up getting a feeding tube because she wasn’t able to do the suck, swallow, and breathe method that babies are born with, since she never had that capability,” Brianna Grav said.
Still, that’s not the end of Saige’s hospital visits.
“Children with tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia, every child is so different because there’s so many different gaps but our daughter has experienced all of them,” Brianna Grav said.
In fact, her parents say she’s had 17 surgeries.
“She’s a miracle, we’ve almost lost her five times and that feeling that you get where they don’t know what’s wrong with your child and they can’t explain what’s going on is the worst feeling in the world and then all of a sudden a miracle happens and she gets better and she’s running around acting like nothing ever happened,” Brianna Grav said.
Saige uses a nebulizer three times a day.
“She gets a vest, like a cystic fibrosis patient wears just to clear out the lungs because her lungs are so damaged,” Brianna Grav said.
When she gets sick, her dad says she has to take medicine through a feeding tube.
“She gets sick very easily in the wintertime, we spent three months in the hospital last winter,” Brodie Grav said.
With help from the staff at Sanford’s Children’s Hospital, it has made all of this a little bit easier on the Grav family.
“The castle is great, the staff is amazing, the kids love it, Saige gets to the point now where she sometimes doesn’t want to go home, she gets spoiled so much, you couldn’t ask for a better place to be if you have to be in the hospital,” Brodie Grav said.
While there may be more hospital visits in the future for Saige, this family is just enjoying the time spent together outside of the hospital.
At the end of July, Saige will be receiving a Make-A-Wish trip to Florida.