When April Leffingwell found out she was pregnant, one of her life's dreams had been fulfilled. She was overjoyed and looked forward to the experience of becoming a mother. But a few weeks into her pregnancy things took a turn for the worse and April's joy soon turned to sorrow.
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During a routine checkup in the 20th week of the pregnancy, doctors found something horrible: a tumor had formed in the baby's lung and was growing rapidly. The tumor enlarged at an alarming rate until it was as big as the baby's head. Doctors informed April that her only hope was to perform a risky operation on the child while it was still in the uterus. Deciding whether or not to have the operation was the most difficult decision of April's life.
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The baby's chance of survival was only 50%, but without the operation it was sure to die. April decided to take the risk and have the surgery. Doctors were able to remove the tumor through her abdominal wall, but there were complications: the unborn child's diaphragm was punctured during the procedure and one of its lungs had collapsed. The doctors worked frantically to save the child.
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They managed to keep the baby alive and the pregnancy continued under close supervision. And then, seven weeks before his due date, little Elijah was born! April and the rest of the family wept tears of joy and relief. But her newborn son's fight for survival wasn't over...
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The internal injuries caused by the operation were still threatening Elijah's life. He was immediately brought to intensive care where he was put on life support.
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Elijah's father Jason stayed at his side. Night after night he read to his son, his calming voice helping the child to sleep and build up its strength.

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The following months were a struggle for Elijah and his family. His swallowing reflex failed to develop because he was constantly being fed intravenously.
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He had to learn how to eat and drink naturally. It was a long and painful process, but Elijah soon got the hang of it.
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This is a picture of Elijah on his second birthday. He is still small for his age, but he loves to eat and is growing stronger every day.
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And when he's in the mood, Elijah loves to show his humor. Who can resist such a sweet little rascal?
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But Elijah still had some bad days, which is to be expected after what he's been through. Thankfully these days are becoming much less frequent.
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Despite his difficult start in life, Elijah is now doing much better with two very loving and grateful parents helping him every step of the way.
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Elijah's fight is still not over yet and every pound gained is hard fought. But Elijah has proved that he is a tough little guy and doctors say that soon he'll be leading a normal life.
It's an inspiring story that needs to be shared with everyone!

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