Rayden Mondragon wasn’t expected to leave the operating room when he was born.
The child, born more than three months early, weighed less than a pound and was 9.5 inches long.
More than a month later, he continues to fight to stay alive. He weighs about 1.5 pounds and is 11.5 inches long.
“He’s truly our miracle,” Rayden’s mom, Marissa Mondragon, said. “He continues to fight every day.”
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Marissa and her husband, Robert, weren’t planning on having a second child, but they were ready, she said. They recently moved into a home, she was starting to attend college and he was working as a supervisor at Lineage Logistics.
“When we did find out that I was pregnant, it was a surprise for us,” she said. “We weren’t really expecting, but we were happy.”
Rayden’s struggles began when Marissa went for a test at Samaritan Healthcare in Moses Lake. Doctors were checking the unborn child for signs of spina bifida or Down syndrome.
Either we risk leaving him in me, or we take the chance of taking him out. Both chances were very, very low.
Marissa Mondragon, Rayden’s mom
The test showed signs the child may have spina bifida, so she was sent to a specialist, who found Marissa’s placenta wasn’t providing Rayden with the nutrients it should.
The specialist told the couple they had some more time, and he wanted her to return to the Moses Lake hospital for steroid shots to help the child’s lungs develop.
When she returned for her next appointment with the specialist, his diagnosis for the child was worse. He was not growing or receiving any nutrients. The doctor told her she had two choices.
“Either we risk leaving him in me, or we take the chance of taking him out,” she said. “Both chances were very, very low. ... I wanted to take my chances and do everything I could for him.”
Rayden was born Sept. 29.
He was smaller than doctors expected, she said. Medical personnel were able to put a breathing tube in him, and her husband baptized the boy.
“They did everything that they could and everything worked,” she said. “Right now, when I do hold him, we have to put him in warm blankets. ... They took (the intravenous tubes) out last week. ... We’re very blessed that he’s doing very well.”
She couldn’t carry the child for two and a half weeks while he was in an incubator at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. They couldn’t feed him breast milk because of his size and development, so he received fluids with lipids.
“Every day is a roller coaster for us,” she said.
While Rayden is in the hospital, Marissa is staying in Spokane at the Ronald McDonald House. Her husband and son visit her on the weekend.
A family friend, Casey Jones, set up a donation page at bit.ly/rayden-mondragon for the family. As of Wednesday, they had raised $1,487 towards the $6,000 goal.
The family can use money to pay for gas, and they still need items for Rayden, such as a crib, car seat and clothing, Marissa said
“The one thing we ask for a lot is prayers,” she said. “I believe that’s what’s helping him. People have told us they’ve sent out prayer groups. It’s just amazing to think how many people are praying for Rayden.”
Rayden’s tentative release date is Jan. 11, Marissa said.
“It could be longer or it could be sooner. They want him to start breathing on his own and maintaining his own temperature,” she said. “They want him to get to at least 4 pounds.”