Family copes with child’s struggle

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 29, 2004

Sometimes angels come from the strangest places.

Enduring frequent bouts of pain and a seemingly endless list of tests, a four-month old Sardis baby found a whole pack of angels in Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

A curious, happy and seemingly healthy 7-lbs. baby, Kiersten Robertson was born in Vaughan Regional Medical Center on April 22. For two weeks at home, no one noticed anything wrong.

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But her family realized little Kiersten was still 7-lbs, and she wasn’t growing.

Kiersten went back to the hospital and was diagnosed with acid reflux and gas. It wasn’t until days later that doctors realized something else was wrong.

By the time Kiersten was two months old, the tiny baby endured heart surgery and liver surgery.

She came home for a while, but blood infections have had her in Children’s Hospital’s ICU unit since Aug. 4 and put her family’s lives on hold.

Through the pain, Kiersten is a charmer.

“The doctors say she’s going to be a doctor or a nurse because she watches every thing they do,” Kiersten’s grandmother Ann Moseley said. “They nicknamed her ‘Nosy Rose.’ When she isn’t hurting, she’ll smile and stick her tongue out and laugh. She’s like a little angel.”

Of course, babies are supposed to be like angels, aren’t they?

Bikers, however, have a different reputation.

“I do know one thing that touched Kiersten, the biker’s club.

They come every so often to the critical patients” Moseley said. “They came and left a little lamb. You wind it up and it plays ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ That little lamb means more to her than anything. When she’s in pain or having tests, we can sing the words of ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and she will calm down and go to sleep.

It does touch children as small as two months old.”

Kiersten has gained weight, she’s up to 9-lbs., but she’s not out of the woods.

“Two weeks ago we thought we were ready to go home (and) she went into arrest again,” Moseley said. “She went in (a few) hours from laughing and playing to arrest.”

Even after doctors get the blood infections taken care of, Kiersten will not be through with hospitals, she may even eventually have to have a liver transplant.

“Kiersten has to stay at Children’s until she is over the blood infections,” Moseley said. “Then she will be transferred to UAB for open heart surgery.

She has blockage and a hole in her heart the size of a dime.

She also has thickening of muscle near

the blockage and the center of heart.”

After all that, Kiersten will get to come home to her father, Chuck, her six-year-old big brother, David Cole, her grandfather Bob Moseley and grandmother Jan Stockton.

Moseley and Kiersten’s mother Dana have stayed in a Birmingham Best Western because the Ronald McDonald House is overcrowded, Moseley said.

“Best Western has given us a discount, they’ve been super nice,” Moseley said.

Kiersten’s father has stayed in Selma to continue working at Turner Chevrolet and keep things as normal as possible for little David as school starts.

Dana has been off her job at HL-A since Kiersten’s birth and her leave time is up.

HL-A has informed her that if she is not back at work as of Sept. 1, she will lose the job and the insurance benefit it carries.

HL-A has offered the Robertson’s COBRA insurance benefits, which continues the same coverage but will have to be paid for by the family.

“HL-A has a generous benefit plan for wages and health benefit continuation during leave,” said Rodger Fisher, Human Resources Manager for HL-A. “Once an associate has exhausted their leave time and is unable to return to work, COBRA insurance is offered as an option for continuing health coverage for the associate and family members.”

As if they didn’t have to worry about enough, on her way to a fundraiser in North Alabama, Moseley hit a wet patch on the Interstate and drove off a 40-foot embankment, totaling her car.

“Eight cars hit that same place that night. When I went off the embankment there was already two cars down there ,” Moseley said.

“My daughter and I are about at the point of a nervous breakdown.”

The family has not been without generosity, however.

Their church, Shiloh Baptist, and minister Dr. Bill Gardner have offered to help as much as they can.

Friends and family have set up a checking account in Kiersten’s name at the Riverdale Credit Union and Moseley said the family is grateful for all the help they’ve received.

“Her family wants to thank everyone already for prayers and kind words,” Moseley said. “Please keep praying for Kiersten and her family.”