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The Cameryn Quast Story: A Little Hero

Cameryn in the NICU

In a new parent’s life, one of the most anticipated parts of birth is the first time holding baby.

For some families that moment is delayed due to complications during labor as it was for Brandyn and Karisa Quast.

During delivery their son Cameryn aspirated meconium, an infant’s first stool, which blocked his airway causing oxygen deprivation and a collapsed lung.

“That was the worst feeling in the world looking at my son lying there on a cooling mat, and I could see how scared he was when he would open his eyes and stare at me.”

Shortly after his birth, Cameryn was whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Brookings Health System and was later airlifted to Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health System in Sioux Falls. It wasn’t until four days later that Karisa and Brandyn were able to hold him.

“That was the worst feeling in the world looking at my son lying there on a cooling mat, and I could see how scared he was when he would open his eyes and stare at me,” Karisa wrote on Cameryn’s CaringBridge site. “It killed me, but as soon as we were able to hold him and the tube was out, I saw the terror in his eyes disappear day by day. It could have been my imagination but I just felt it.”

The Quasts call Cameryn, born 10 lbs., 4 oz., on Aug. 10, 2011, their little hero. He spent about two weeks in the NICU at Avera McKennan, during which he surpassed goal after goal set by doctors. To help in his recovery, he was placed on a cooling blanket, the first patient at Avera to receive this service. This is a common procedure for babies who have oxygen deprivation because it slows metabolism, which has been found to help protect the brain.

Cameryn Today

Knowing that Cameryn had been deprived of oxygen, doctors were unsure if he would have long-term damage, but an MRI indicated things were fine. Today he is a thriving 3-year-old boy with a love of cars, coloring and reading books. One of his favorite things is to go to grandpa’s shop to work on demolition derby cars.

“Once he started to recover, it just seems like he conquered everything all at once,” she said. Today, Cameryn still has some breathing issues. When he runs and gets excited he sometimes starts to wheeze.

Karisa said the team in the NICU took the time to get to know the family and put them at ease.

“They made it so easy for us,” she said. “They made sure that not only he was OK but that we were OK. I wouldn’t have taken him anywhere else.”

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