Pennsylvania

Toni Chester

Area Contact

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Toni ChesterHi, my name is Toni and I am a proud mommy to two adorable toddlers. My oldest sons name is Lucas and he was born January 2012. My baby Wyatt was born April 2013 and he is our Gastroschisis Warrior. Mommy is not the only hat I wear these days, I’m also Speech-Language Pathologist and I have worked with the geriatric population for 5 years. 

My journey with Gastroschisis began like most others. Completely caught off guard at our 20 week ultrasound when the doctor said “…and here is where we see a problem…” I had never heard the term Gastroschisis before that day. In the weeks that followed my husband and I spent our time researching everything we could about this defect that would touch our lives in ways that would could never imagine. 

Wyatt was born via c-section following our 32nd week and 2 day biweekly Dr. appt. at CHOP. The wonderful high risk OB-GYNs felt that he was not growing properly and diagnosed him with IUGR. I was scared, it was too early, would he be ok…. these were just some of the thoughts that raced through my mind as I calmly called my parents to tell them that their newest grandson would be born that day. The week prior to this appointment I had received the steroid shots to help speed his lung development. 

At 7:55 pm on April 19, 2013 Wyatt entered the world weighing in at 4lbs. 1oz. He was 16 inches long. He cried and my heart was filled with love. Wyatt’s intestines looked healthy at birth and they were placed in a silo suspended over him in his isolette. He was 10 days old when he had his closure surgery. This was one of the toughest days in the NICU for me as a mother. Seeing my teeny baby boy wheeled off into surgery. He returned on a ventilator which we were well prepared for by our surgeon. They felt it was best to allow his body a chance to heal without having to worry about breathing as well. It was on day 11 when I FINALLY got to hold my sweet prince. This was all this momma wanted, to snuggle her boy. 

Wyatt spent 6 weeks and 1 day in the NICU at CHOP. His journey was not without bumps along the road. He was a preemie, struggled with reflux issues, cellulitis, had some bradycardia episodes, and even needed a blood transfusion. A few days before discharge Wyatt learned to breastfeed. It was a huge victory for both him and I. When we left the NICU it was a bitter sweet moment. We were finally going home as a family and yet we were leaving “our family”. I will be forever grateful to the nurses and doctors who took care of our family during my pregnancy and NICU stay. 

After leaving the NICU Wyatt’s main struggle was gaining weight and eating  secondary to reflux. Since getting his meds for reflux adjusted he hasn’t stopped eating and can be frequently found shoveling blueberries into his mouth by the handful. 
Over the past 16 months Wyatt has grown into a funny, silly, adventurous, smart, and loving toddler. He loves watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and playing with his brother. Wyatt even has a few girlfriends at his daycare. My husband and I call him chicken nugget and wrecking ball (because he never lets anything get in his way).