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Helping Baby Zaine During Health Battle


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Helping Baby Zaine During Health Battle

By Stacy Engebretson. CREATED Jan 22, 2014

Brillion, WI --  Kissing her son. It's something Stephanie Mueller will never take for granted. 

"The experience that we went through was just terrible. I don't wish it on anybody," said Mueller.

During her pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed six toes on her baby's foot. After Zaine was born, the doctors discovered there were more.  

"They said, 'Oh he's got extra digits.' And I'm like, 'Yeah one extra toe.' No, he had two extra fingers and two extra toes."

The ultrasound missed another problem too.

"He had what's called a volvulus," Mueller explains. 

During his first night in the hospital, Zaine began coughing up blood clots.  

"It was the worst sight ever. Everyday that I think about it, I just start crying."

An X-ray showed that the ligaments around Zaine's small intestine didn't develop properly causing it twist and hemorrhage. An ambulance rushed the newborn from Two Rivers to Children's Hospital in Milwaukee where surgeons removed nearly half of his small intestine but saved his life. Now 3 months old, Zaine is restricted to a special baby formula for his digestive system that costs $200 a week.   

"We've maxed out credit cards, definitely, trying to pay for it."

Stephanie says she's in a battle with her insurance company to cover the cost.

"A lot of times I cry, because I don't know what to do. It's very frustrating." 

Shannon Kakes heard about the Mueller's plight through their pastor. While the two never crossed paths in church, they did connect on Facebook. Kakes adopted the family for the holidays and created an online fundraiser that has brought in more than $4,000.

Kakes says, "I love volunteering but to help a family specifically this much and touch them this much, it's a great feeling."

Besides formula, the donations will help pay for Zaine's past and future surgeries. Stephanie and her husband Casey are overwhelmed by the kindness from friends, family and strangers.

"I would love to go up to everybody individually and thank them, give them a hug and let them know how much they've helped us." 

The outpouring of support will help ensure the Mueller's baby boy will live a long, happy and healthy life.

"Zaine has touched a lot of people's lives. He definitely is a miracle baby."  

Want to show your support for the Muellers? Click this link to make a donation. There's also information listed below about an upcoming rummage sale fundraiser.