KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. (WBTV) - This is the same child. Corben Elmore at birth, versus age two.
This Kings Mountain boy was born 17-weeks premature because his mother was reportedly a drug addict, using while pregnant, and didn’t get prenatal care.
His adoptive mother wrote an incredible email. She said Corben was born with MRSA, due to his biological mom using dirty needles. He also had a brain bleed, an open sore in his head, weighed only 1 pound, 3 ounces, had premature lungs and his undeveloped skin was paper thin. It tore if anyone touched him.
“We were told he wasn’t going to make it,” says adoptive mom Heather Elmore. “Doctors gave him 0% chance of survival. They told his biological mother to pull the plug.”
“That was the last decision she made about her boy,” Heather says. “Lucky for us she decided against it.”
Despite his horribly bad predictions, Corben began to thrive. He made it through his kidneys shutting down and his body trying to give up.
“He kept pushing," Heather said. "Although he was ventilator-dependent and needing round-the-clock-care, he kept pushing.”
Week after week, doctors started adding life expectancy. Heather says they kept researching ways to keep him more stable. After one full month, he was stable enough for skin-to-skin contact. Heather could hold him. He was two pounds.
“From the moment he touched my skin, his heart rate climbed and his breathing got better,” she said. “As weeks followed, he’d improve in small ways and get through surgeries, shunts and exams.”
After three months in NICU, Corben gained enough weight for clothes and to come out of the incubator.
After four months in NICU, doctors removed his ventilator fully.
After five months, Corben was released from NICU altogether.
Heather – who again is his adoptive mother, but who’s also his biological aunt – says it has been a long two years.
“Corben is a remarkable boy,” she said. “But in the past few months, he has taken a step backwards. He was hospitalized with pneumonia, was put on thickened liquids, got a G-tube and also has cerebral palsy and doesn’t walk well (though he is making progress!). He also has vision issues.”
But here’s the thing about this note from Saint Heather:
Despite life sounding virtually impossible, positive vibes came out of every paragraph. Heather gave straight-ahead facts, but remained really upbeat in how she described their life. She also sent more pictures, which I’ll post below in comments.
“My son always has a smile on his handsome face,” she said. “We’ve beat so many odds. We’ve surpassed lots of things doctors said wouldn’t happen…I am sure we’ll get where we need to go.”
Welcome to #MollysKids, Corben. Life is precious.
*Editor’s note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there, which is why it’s written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all #MollysKids here.