For months, Jessica Landry and husband Cory barely saw the outside of hospital walls, but now the couple – and their baby boy – are finally home.
On Feb. 29, Jonah Landry was released from hospital care after undergoing open heart surgery. He’s been home since, which is no small milestone. Jonah, who will enjoy his first birthday on July 30, was born with Down Syndrome and a hole in his heart. Complications piled up from there, including multiple infections and a battle with Respiratory Syncytial Virus. He’s been the recipient of 12 blood transfusions in his short life, has been intubated multiple times, and prior to February he had spent precious little time outside of hospital care.
But finally Jonah’s had the health breakthrough he’s needed and that his parents have longed for.
“(After Jonah was transferred to Children’s Hospital in December), we may have left there two to three times at most,” Jessica said. “It’s really been a roller coaster. It’s a huge relief to have him home and hopefully, from here on, it’s all upward. It was definitely a scare. I didn’t, or couldn’t, process how sick his little body really was.”
Jonah’s enjoying his new surroundings.
“He’s such a happy baby. He doesn’t cry or fuss much at all,” Jessica said. “He brings so much joy to everybody. Everyone sees his pictures, sees his smile, and it’s just contagious.”
Jessica said one of the toughest parts of the situation was the lack of clarity on what Jonah’s path to recovery, or his ultimate prognosis, truly was. She said it was known he would need surgery early on, but she didn’t realize how bad the situation was – Jonah was, in actuality, going through heart failure. The road to getting to that surgery was made difficult by the other health complications he developed.
“Nobody could give us an answer on why he needed so many transfusions,” Jessica said. “When we finally got to the surgery, it was a six to eight hour operation and a one-time thing … I wasn’t scared, per se, because we knew God had us. He’d brought us this far and was going to carry us through. Our faith really kept us going and brought us through it all.”
Jonah still has follow-up visits scheduled, but his blood work has shown no red flags, Jessica said.
Earlier this year, many in the community stepped forward to help baby Jonah and his family. Leigh Landry, Jonah’s aunt and of Bayou Gauche, and her husband Dylan, Cory’s brother, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help offset Jonah’s medical expenses. That effort raised all $6,500 of its set goal in donations. A plate lunch fundraiser was also held by NuStar in St. James Parish, where Dylan Landry works.
“We were overwhelmed by the support we got in our time of need,” Jessica said. “I can’t even put into words how thankful we really were and are. Nobody thought it would go as well or receive the attention that it did.”
Though Jonah is home, precautions are in place. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the lives of many, and her family is no exception, as Jessica was laid off from her job as result of the pandemic. Jonah is out of the hospital, but the family is careful in terms of where they bring him in regards to his own health vulnerability.
“We haven’t been doing much, still,” Jessica admits. “But all we can do is take it one day at a time. He seems healthy, and I think as far as I go, God has other plans for me right now. He needs me more right now than a job does. It’s been a journey.”