It's not easy being a tiny baby

Published 7:36 pm Wednesday, July 7, 2004

By By LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
She is only seven months old and weighs less than 16 pounds, but she has made a dramatic difference in the lives of the people around her.
Rebecca Ann Moore, the daughter of Thad and Leigh Moore, was born with a vascular birthmark called a hemangioma which is mostly internal and it has caused this little baby to have to spend most of her life in a hospital.
Hemangiomas are sometimes visible at birth and sometimes become visible within one to four weeks after birth. They occur five times more often in females than in males and low birth weight infants are more likely to develop a hemangioma. They come in all sizes and the key to treatment is an accurate diagnosis. They appear reddish or bluish in color, depending on how deep they are and most of them are on the head or neck area. The good news is that they do stop growing and will eventually go away. The problem is getting the child through until the birthmark begins to fade. In some cases, they can be life-threatening, interfering with breathing, and need to be treated immediately. Those that grow internally can be very dangerous if they are not immediately detected.
Such is the case with Rebecca Ann. Her hemangioma is mostly inside, reaching from her head down into her chest to the tops of her lungs. Her throat and air passages are affected leaving it difficult for her to breathe.
Her parents, Thad and Leigh Lambert Moore both grew up in this area. Their parents also live here. Thad and Leigh were married June 29, 2002 and Rebecca Ann was born Nov. 12, 2003. She weighed seven pounds, 15 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.
The pregnancy was normal enough. Leigh had severe migraine headaches but other than that everything went the way it was supposed to. There was a small mark on Rebecca's face but everyone thought it was a pressure mark from her birth. Everything seemed to be all right for a couple of weeks, until one day she seemed to have developed a lot of congestion and a cough. She was taken to Dr. Marsha Raulerson who told her mother that she sounded as if she had the croup. They had taken her nowhere to be exposed to anything. Dr. Raulerson told them to watch the baby closely. That night Leigh's mother, Becky Lambert, called her in to see how the baby's chest was retracting.
When the problem became to omuch for the local hospital to handle, Rebecca Ann was transferred to University of South Alabama Women's and Children's Hospital in Mobile. The doctors continued to treat as if she had the croup but never confirmed that was the problem. After a time she got a little better and was sent home but a few days later she started to have problems again. She cried all the time and didn't sleep well at all.
The doctors discovered that she had growths on the back of her tongue and went in to take them out. They knew something else was wrong and put a trachea in, only to cut through the hemangioma.
Once it was determined just how massive the hemangioma was, the doctors decided to send her to Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts to experts. It was recommended that she stay in the hospital until she was four months old.
For the next few months the Moores spent a lot of time in Boston. Leigh stayed there the whole time while Thad was back and forth between Brewton and Boston. Both sets of grandparents, Earl and Becky Lambert and Thad and Cindy Moore, were there to lend a helping hand. After a time in Boston, the baby was sent back to Mobile to the hospital and soon was able to come home.
One of the things that a visitor notices right away is that Rebecca Ann makes no sounds. Her airway above the trachea is closed off and she is unable to cry.
The parents were told that the hemangioma will continue to grow until she is several months old, when it should start to be absorbed into her body. The problem is to maintain her present condition until she begins to absorb the hemangioma into her system.
Most parents get very tired of hearing their babies cry, but the Moores will be glad when the day comes that their little girl will be able to make all the noise she can. She will have to wait to learn to talk but their hope is that she will be much better by the time she goes to school.
In the meantime, the Moores continue to do the best they can with Rebecca Ann, taking care of her and loving her. They make a point of expressing their gratitude for all the people who have been there for them during this trying time. They have had donations for plane tickets to Boston and donations to help defray the expenses. The doctor and hospital bills are astronomical and they appreciate all the help from friends and neighbors. They have a special thanks for Bill Thallemer and his effort to raise money by running a marathon from Atmore to Brewton.