DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - Shiloh Messam, a resilient baby born in a South Florida hospital with premature lungs, celebrated his first birthday after spending a challenging 365 days in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Despite facing chronic lung injury and a hole in his heart, Shiloh’s journey has been one of determination, survival and hope.

“Today is Shiloh’s first birthday,” said Shiloh’s mother, Lomiekia Messam. “He has been in a NICU for 365 days.”

Born prematurely at 29 weeks, Shiloh weighed just a little over three pounds at birth.

“He unfortunately has so,e chronic lung injury from being born so prematurely and needed continuation of services that they weren’t able to provide up in Wellington,” said Mitchell Stern, NICU Medical Director for HCA Florida Healthcare, “so he was transferred here, where we were able to provide some additional services that he was unable to get where he was previously.”

In addition to his lung issues, Shiloh also had a PDA, or patent ductus arteriosus, a hole in his heart that required a transfer to another hospital for heart surgery.

The struggles continued as Shiloh faced challenges with extubation and breathing. He underwent a tracheotomy and G-tube procedure at HCA University Hospital in Davie, providing essential support for his respiratory needs.

“He will have the trach for a while until they’re able to wean him off the ventilator,” said Lomiekia, “and then eventually, over time, he’ll gradually get weaned out more and more, and then eventually they’ll take the trach out.”

Despite these obstacles, Shiloh’s growth and healing have been remarkable since receiving the tracheotomy.

“The goal is, as he gets old, his lungs will gradually mature,” said Lomiekia, “so I was told by the doctors the lungs do not stop growing until the child is probably, I think they said 12.”

Celebrating this milestone, Shiloh’s parents and hospital staff expressed gratitude for the care provided.

“We’re excited today because he’s met this great milestone, and we’re extremely anticipating the time that we can bring him home,” said Steve Messam, Shiloh’s father.

As Shiloh turns one, his parents and hospital staff aim are celebrating, and they want to raise awareness about the lifesaving procedures that have been crucial to his survival.

“It has been a journey being here this long, but because of the care here with the staff, the nurses and the doctors, they have given us a peace of mind,” said Lomiekia. “It has been hard, and this journey has been a test of time because this is something new to us. We have never known anything about babies with trachs, and we are learning something daily.”

Shiloh’s brother, Noah, said he is looking forward to playing with him, saying he will always look out for him and is excited for when he gets to go home.

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