The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

September 3, 2013

Ottumwa boy to have open heart surgery

OTTUMWA – Little 18-month-old Jaxson Dodson loves music, cuddling and eating — banana is his favorite flavor. He has come a long way. In fact, doctors didn’t expect him to survive to birth. With multiple surgeries and more to come, including major heart surgery today, this little guy has captured a lot of hearts.

Cynthia Beverlin remembers the joy of learning she was pregnant with a baby boy during her 20-week ultrasound. Like any young expectant mom, she immediately contacted family members and updated her Facebook status with the good news.

However, that joy quickly turned to heartbreak when just four hours later, she received a chilling call from the doctor telling her that ultrasound results showed that her baby boy has “multiple anomalies,” problems with his brain, heart, face and feet.

One week later, she traveled to Des Moines for a level-two ultrasound so doctors could get a better look at her baby. This revealed a fluid filled cyst on his brain, bilateral cleft lip and palate, a heart defect (three heart chambers instead of four and an extra artery), clubfeet and six toes on each foot.

Doctors told her that babies with this many problems typically don’t survive through pregnancy. Cynthia was advised that it would be best if she abort her baby.

“There was no way I could live with myself knowing I didn’t give him a chance. This had to be God’s choice, not mine,” Cynthia said, opting to proceed with the pregnancy.

The next step, amniocentesis, revealed a bit of good news — no chromosome disorders were detected.

“I didn’t like being counseled about aborting my baby,” Cynthia said, opting to switch doctors and head to the high-risk unit in Iowa City. She told them from the start she didn’t want any negativity. She was ready to fight for her baby and give him every chance she could.

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