Roman Robert Houston decided that his birth was going to be a surprise to everyone. Born at only 26 weeks, Roman weighed 2 lbs. 2 oz. and he was 14 inches long. At three weeks old, Roman was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), the most common and serious intestinal disease among premature babies.
NEC results when tissue in the small or large intestine is injured or begins to die off. This causes the intestine to become inflamed, or in rare cases, develop a hole. When a hole develops, the intestine can no longer hold waste, so bacteria and other waste products pass through the intestine and enter the baby’s bloodstream or abdominal cavity. Roman was diagnosed with NEC twice. Doctors removed ten centimeters of his colon and placed a tracheotomy and feeding tube.
After five surgeries and 211 days in the NICU, Roman came home on a ventilator, for the first time, just three days shy of his seven month birthday. Three months after coming home, Roman came off the ventilator.
Today, at 29 months old, Roman’s tracheostomy tube has been removed and he is scheduled to get his feeding tube out around the first of the year. Roman has experienced many triumphs in his short life. His parents were told that he would not be able to eat by mouth until he was three or four, but his favorite foods are lamb chops, carrots, and cabbage. His school describes Roman as “high spirited, easy going, and extremely intelligent.”
His parents say they “thank God for His gift of life. We also have to thank all the wonderful people that have supported us throughout this journey. We are forever grateful, for all the prayers, words of encouragement, and love.”