Trey Davis is a huge Saints fan; in fact, he named his son Brees Thomas Davis—Brees for Saints quarterback Drew Brees who led the Saints to their first Super Bowl win. Now that is one dedicated fan. Maybe there’s nothing in a name, but like his name sake little Brees has the heart and soul of a champion.
Diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) at 35 weeks, both Trey and his wife, Jennifer, knew their son would be fighting for his life the minute he was born. The medical staff at University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) told them that their son had a 50 percent survival rate. To make matters worse, they were 80 percent sure little Brees would have to use an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which would decrease his chances of survival even more. The ECMO acts as the patient’s heart and lungs and is used when those organs are severely damaged—as is the case in CDH. When a newborn is hooked up to the ECMO, his or her survival rate drops to 33 percent.
Trey and Jennifer knew when their little boy was born he would be admitted to Blair E. Batson’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). (Blair E. Batson is Mississippi’s only children’s hospital and a part of UMMC.) Knowing they would be going home without their son was heart wrenching for his parents. Even more devastating was knowing he might never come home.
However, Brees pulled a few “Hail Marys” of his own when he was born. He is the first baby born at UMMC with CDH that has not had to use the ECMO machine. His prognosis was so positive he was taken into surgery earlier than originally scheduled. And, while doctors and medical personnel told Trey and Jennifer that Brees would need lots of blood to survive, he ended up needing only 50 ccs of it. Brees is a fighter, and like his namesake, he is “in it to win it.”
In spite of Brees needing less blood than anticipated, Trey and Jennifer are grateful for all who donated—they know other lives were saved, as well.
“You never know how important it is [to give blood] until it’s you, your family, your child…the possibility of not having blood just frightens you,” Jennifer Davis said.
“It changed me for sure about blood donations,” added Trey, who is now a blood donor.
Trey and Jennifer thank God for Brees’ life and are grateful for the prayers and support of friends and family, the staff and doctors at Blair E. Batson’s PICU, and the many people who came out to donate blood for Brees.
While not out of the woods entirely, Brees’ future looks bright. Will he end up being a quarterback for the Saints? That remains to be seen.
“We just want him to grow up and be healthy and have a normal life,” both Jennifer and Trey said. “We want him to be what God intends him to be.”
One thing is for certain, he’s already proved he has the heart of a champion!