Assistant HUB Leader
My name is Jen Abjornson and I am very happy to be the assistant leader in New Hampshire for Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation.My personal experience with this medical condition began when my sister, Megan, learned that her son would be born with gastroschisis. On December 5, 2013, my nephew, Zachary, was born prematurely at 32 weeks 1 day with gastroschisis. Zachary was taken into his first surgery shortly after he was born to attach his silo, and eventually was admitted into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Fortunately, I was placed on the visitation list, so I was allowed into the NICU to visit Zachary and spend time with my adorable nephew.
Two weeks after his initial surgery, Zachary had a second procedure to ultimately close his belly and fortunately, everything went really well. After the second surgery, however, Zachary experienced some complications. Although those couple of days after his second surgery were difficult, he fought through and continued to do well. Zachary was doing great while in the NICU and was such a personable baby! On February 21, 2014, Zachary was able to go home with his mommy and daddy! It was the best day ever knowing that my nephew would finally be home!
Zachary did great at home! He had such a big personality and continued to surprise us with his many faces, noises, and poses! He was so full of happiness, love, and life; you couldn’t help but smile when you were around him. I was often called “Zachary’s paparazzi” by his mom and dad, because I could not help but take numerous pictures of him and all of the cute things he did!
Although Zachary was doing well at home, he unexpectedly passed away on March 12, 2014. There is not a day that goes by where I do not think about my nephew and all of the wonderful memories created with him. He was such a strong baby and his journey with gastroschisis has inspired me to help other families affected by gastroschisis, as well as increase the condition’s awareness.