“We are lucky she is a fighter.”

Sep 27, 2018 | Sponsored

Hannah is thankful for the care Esther received from the staff at Baptist Health Louisville through funding from the WHAS Crusade for Children.

Esther Catlett is a healthy, feisty 9-month-old baby who loves playtime — but she needed some extra help along the way. Born 10 weeks early at Baptist Health Louisville, Esther couldn’t eat anything on her own and hadn’t developed the ability to swallow, breathe, or suck. But funding from the WHAS Crusade for Children put her on the fast track to a healthier life.

Since 1995, Baptist Health has received $750,000 in grants from the Crusade, which allows the hospital to purchase life saving medical equipment for newborns like Esther. Esther stayed in the hospital’s Neonatal and Intensive Care Unit for 56 weeks, before she could go home with her parents Hannah and Robert Catlett.

While in the NICU, she slept in an incubator designed to keep her body temperature at a normal level. Because of the delicacy of Esther’s condition, Hannah couldn’t hold her until six days after the delivery and had limited physical contact with Esther to avoid overstimulation. “This was my first pregnancy, and I had this idea of what it was going to be like, and one thing I was always looking forward to was that first moment after they deliver and clean the baby up and you get to put the baby on your chest. I had always looked forward to that. I didn’t get that in the same way, but it was still just as cool,” Hannah says.

Since leaving the NICU, Esther’s weight has quadrupled, and she prefers interacting with people rather than playing with toys. “We are very lucky that she is a fighter. She is starting to do the baby talk, laughing and smiling. It is definitely amazing to see where she is now,” she says.