Five-thousand miles wasn’t enough to keep the prayers of Kauai children from reaching a sick newborn and her family in Florida.
Meghan and Jared Kuhn of Miami say those prayers, as well as cards and gifts from students at St. Catherine’s School in Kapaa, contributed to what numerous doctors and nurses have described as a miraculous recovery.
“This is nothing short of a miracle,” Meghan said. “All of her nurses said that. Even people who don’t say that kind of stuff, said it.”
Two weeks after her scheduled due date, Meghan delivered Marlowe via a C-section on April 15 — the same day as the Boston Marathon bombings.
Prior to the birth, however, both she and Marlowe became infected with the E. coli virus, likely a result of the baby passing her first stool while still in the womb.
Once they determined what was wrong, doctors told Meghan and Jared that if Marlowe made it through the first 48 hours, she would only have a 50 percent chance of survival.
Two days passed. Marlowe was still alive.
“But things had gotten worse,” Meghan recalled.
Doctors reduced Marlowe’s chances to 25 percent.
Then, three days after being born, Marlowe was transferred in a helicopter from Mount Sinai Medical Center to Miami Children’s Hospital.
“Up to that point, I had maybe seen her once,” Meghan said. “They really didn’t want anyone around her.”
Suffering from infection and pulmonary hypertension, doctors induced Marlowe into a coma. For the first two months of her life, Marlowe was completely paralyzed.
“That was our life,” Meghan said. “We were in an out of the (neonatal intensive care unit) every day.”
On several occasions, Meghan said medical staff told her and her husband to pray — that, at that point, prayer was the only thing that may help.
So that’s what they did, along with family and friends.
About two months after Marlowe’s birth, students at St. Catherine’s caught wind of the story through Pat Doherty, a seventh-grade teacher and religion director. A schoolwide effort was launched.
“We prayed and we prayed,” Doherty said.
Later, once things were looking up, the school showered Marlowe with handmade Get Well Soon cards from every student in fourth through eighth grade, as well as a stuffed animal.
The link is that Meghan and Doherty’s daughter, Tara, share a mutual friend. Tara started following baby Marlowe’s story on Facebook and told her mom about it.
“I don’t know her,” Meghan said of Tara. “That’s what’s sort of incredible about this whole thing.”
Despite the distance, dozens of cards unexpectedly showed up from Kauai — ironically the location of Meghan and Jared’s honeymoon.
Meghan said she and countless others continued praying that Marlowe would not only live, but thrive. Last week, Marlowe turned five months old.
“By all accounts she is healthy. She’s sweet. She’s happy,” Meghan said. “She’s sturdy and solid, and her eyes kind of treat you.”
After the baby had stared death or permanent brain damage in the face, doctors now tell Meghan and Jared that the girl is incredibly healthy.
The role students at St. Catherine’s played was both moving and overwhelming, according to Meghan.
“They lifted us up immensely during a terrible time,” she said.
“They made it feel like we were part of something bigger. That we were being loved. That everything was going to be OK.”
To show her gratitude, and to put a face with baby Marlowe’s name, Meghan and Jared sent a frame to the school, with multiple photos and a message.
“To the students at St. Catherine’s School,” the message reads. “From the bottom of our family’s hearts, thank you for your prayers for our baby Marlowe and the beautiful get well cards. You were part of a miracle. Believe in the incredible power of prayer and praise.”
Upon hearing that the frame is now hanging in the school’s administrative office, Meghan said, “This story just keeps getting better.”