The Suburbanite
  • Baby Trenton refused to die

  • Sorry Floyd Mayweather, the toughest pound-for-pound fighter in the country might be Trenton Ball. It would have surprised no one if Trenton had died the same day he was born, back in March. Especially considering the manner in which he was born. None of the medical professionals involved in Trenton’s birth were prepared for that.

    • email print
  • Sorry Floyd Mayweather, the toughest pound-for-pound fighter in the country might be Trenton Ball. He lives inside an apartment on Lakeview Avenue. He sleeps in a crib, drinks from a bottle and smiles big when mommy cuddles him in her arms.
    It would have surprised no one if Trenton had died the same day he was born, in March. Or, if he’d not battled through 93 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Aultman Hospital.
    “You’d have gotten long odds in Vegas,” said Dr. Roger Vazquez, a neonatologist at Aultman, who cared for Trenton. “He really had everything going against him from the start.”
    In nearly two decades at the Canton hospital, Vazquez has seen plenty. On average, 400 sick and premature babies a year land in the NICU. Not all make it out. Some who do are susceptible to later complications.
    He’s not sure why Trenton made it. Especially considering the way he was born. None of the medical professionals involved in Trenton’s birth were prepared for that. The only explanation Vazquez can conjure makes him look to the sky, shake his head and shrug his shoulders.
    “Someone was looking over him,” he said.
    • • •
    By spring, Lindsey Hurford knew the baby was going to be a boy. It would be the first child for the 19-year-old, with glittering eyes, a wide smile and shoulder-length brown hair. Her due date was July 8.
    However, she began feeling contractions nearly four months early. A worried trip to the doctor temporarily calmed her. Probably just Braxton Hicks, or false labor, she was told. She worked her shift the next day on the desk at Comfort Inn. Lindsey got home before midnight on March 21.
    Then, those contractions came again.
    She doubled over on the bathroom floor. Her boyfriend and future husband, Kodie Ball, the baby’s father, phoned 9-1-1. Smith Ambulance paramedic Aimee Crum was excited when she got the call for an active labor.
    “I’ve wanted to deliver a baby badly,” she said.
    Those who do are awarded a stork pin for their shirts.
    She changed her mind when the crew reached Lindsey’s second-floor apartment. It appeared Lindsey had miscarried. Besides, Crum didn’t want any part of delivering a 24-weeker, what’s referred to as a micro preemie.
    Lindsey was whisked away to Alliance Community Hospital, less than two miles away. She started to think of her older sister, who had delivered a premature baby, a baby who died after a week in the hospital.
    “Lindsey was white as a snowball,” Kodie recalled.
    Crum and the ambulance crew left — but they’d soon see Lindsey again.
    • • •
    Ultrasounds and tests revealed baby Trenton was still very much alive inside the womb, as Lindsey continued to labor.
    Page 2 of 3 - The Alliance hospital isn’t equipped for such premature babies. Aultman is the only nearby hospital south of Akron even licensed to care for them. So, while Lindsey prepared to deliver, a special neonatal team from the Canton hospital was dispatched to Alliance.
    About 75 times a year, the team travels to small city and rural hospitals to intervene. After Lindsey gave birth, they would initiate care on Trenton. Babies born at 24 weeks can not breathe on their own. They would feed a tube down his throat, into his lungs and breathe for him by squeezing oxygen into him. Once he was stable, they would take him to Aultman by ambulance.
    Vazquez, the neonatologist and a father himself, addressed Lindsey with an air of calmness and confidence, preparing her for the worst. Trenton would have less than a 50-50 chance of survival.
    “We’ll do everything we can,” Vazquez told her. “I just want you to keep in mind that we’ll do things for him. But we don’t want to get to the point where we are doing things to him.”
    Lindsey’s labor stalled. An hour became two, then six. With time to plan, everyone agreed it was better for Trenton to be born at Aultman. A little after 6:30 on Thursday morning, March 22, they took off, sirens wailing.
    Lindsey rode inside the first Smith Ambulance. Crum, the paramedic who had come to her home only hours prior, rode with her. So did Kathy Norfolk, a labor and delivery nurse at Alliance Community. Most of the Aultman NICU team followed behind in a separate ambulance — equipped to transport a baby, but not an adult. Vazquez brought up the rear of the caravan inside his Honda Odyssey with 175,000 miles on the odometer.
    • • •
    An IV in her arm, and reclined, Lindsey saw and heard sirens as her ambulance bounced over bumps then headed west on State Street. She squeezed the railings on both sides of her cot. Pressure and pain built. She closed her eyes tight. Contractions again. Big time.
    “Lindsey, are you all right,” asked Norfolk, the nurse.
    “He’s coming out,” she said.
    “Don’t let him come out yet,” Norfolk said.
    “I’m trying, but he’s coming,” Lindsey yelled.
    Norfolk lifted the sheet off Lindsey’s legs. She saw the crown of Trenton’s head. Crum yelled for driver Steve Mercer to stop. Just two miles into their trip, he pulled off the road, in front of the Super 8 Motel.
    Trenton’s best chance to live was to be born at Aultman. His second best option was to enter the world at Alliance Community. Born on the side of the road? You wouldn’t find that scenario on top of anyone’s list. Such an uncontrolled environment makes an already precarious situation downright death-defying.
    Page 3 of 3 - The breathing intubating tubes on board were too large for Trenton. And an infant oxygen mask was larger than his entire head.
    Norfolk’s hands shook, as she readied for a birth. She had delivered babies before, but none as premature and tiny as this one would be. And she’d never done it inside an ambulance.
    • • •
    With not so much as a push, Trenton slid out of Lindsey and into Norfolk’s hands at 6:58 a.m. All 1 pound, 12 ounces of him. Folded in half, his feet were behind his ears. He was black, blue and purple. His eyes were fused shut. He couldn’t breathe. His lungs weren’t developed enough.
    Norfolk and Crum heard a feint purring sound.
    “He made a noise like a little kitten; I’ll never forget as long as I live,” Norfolk said.
    “He sounded like a mouse,” Crum recalled.
    The two women wiped blood off him. They fumbled around, looking for a clamp for the umbilical cord and a pair of scissors to cut it. Where is that NICU team, they thought. Both women kicked on the rear of the ambulance, trying to force open its doors. They finally popped.
    “We have a baby!” Norfolk shouted.
    Vazquez, rushing to the open doors, extended his arms. He took Trenton in his hands and started to leave. The cord still was attached. The women managed to get it cut. He rushed Trenton to the waiting NICU ambulance. He started Surfactant therapy, a substance to keep the baby’s lungs from collapsing, intubated him, and placed him in a mobile incubator, called an isolette.
    “At that point, I didn’t know if he was alive or dead,” Lindsey said.
    Three months later, on June 23, Trenton Ball left Aultman Hospital with his mom and dad, for his home on Lakeview Avenue. It was still two weeks before his original due date. He weighed seven pounds.

    Comments are currently unavailable on this article

      Events Calendar