It's called the "Children's Miracle Network Telethon," but are the children in the stories really miracles?
It sounds like a stretch.
Or is it?
Before you answer, consider this story.
Kristin and Elliott Metzger were 22 weeks into their second pregnancy.
Their first pregnancy had been picture perfect.
But on this day, the pictures showed something else. The baby had abnormalities.
"... The biggest thing when I went to the ultra sound was we didn't want to know the gender, so then I was like 'oh don't tell me that'," said Kristin.
Not only that, Kristin and Elliot were told that the abnormalities were "incompatible with life."
"Ethan had a lot of fluid in his abdomen," said Kristen, "they didn't know if it was a mass or if it was fluid. They just couldn't tell. They said 'we don't know what's going on but you have no amniotic fluid, we don't think the lungs are going to be developed'."
"They didn't expect him to make it. They thought at some point he would stop developing and he would pass away," said Elliot.
Kristin says the doctors thought the fluid would continue to build up in Ethan's abdomen and eventually compress his heart and stop it from beating.
"You never dream that when you walk in there you're going to be told that they don't think that your baby is going to be alive in a week. It's awful," she said.
The Metzgers were given a grief counselor, and told they might want to consider ending the pregnancy.
Still, they knew the doctors couldn't be certain, and they chose to chase a miracle instead.
"We didn't like the idea of ending things. We just wanted to give it a shot," said Elliot.
Weekly checkups listened for heartbeats.
While they remained hopeful, the young parents were also prepared to hear silence.
"We had gone to our church. We had talked with the priest. We had gone to a cemetery to prepare for a plot. We had gone to a funeral home to talk to them about what we would need to do. We had the paperwork for an autopsy. We had all of that," said Kristen.
At 36 weeks, little Ethan's heart was still beating. The doctors decided it was time to go in and get the baby.
Ethan Metzger was alive.
"He came out crying. Which was like… I couldn't believe it ... I was like, ‘is he crying?' I don't know if it was the drugs or what but he was crying and the first thing he did was pee... and I think my doctor was like 'I don't even know what's happening. He's crying and he's peeing and nothing that we thought was going to happen happened'," remembered Kristin.
The fluid that had built up in-vitro had so distended his abdomen that the muscles didn't develop properly.
As he urinated the fluid away his belly pruned up, a condition known as Prune Belly Syndrome.
One in 40-thousand babies have Prune Belly Syndrome and a fifth of those are stillborn.
Thirty percent will die by the age of two.
In September, Ethan Metzger will turn three.
Ethan and his parents spent about 80 days of the first year of his life in the hospital.
Viruses continue to be a worry and his kidney and urinary functions are closely monitored.
His parents say he has a good personality, and considering all he's been through, a great demeanor.
He's also curious. His parent's say even more so than his big brother Braiden.
"He gets into things a lot more than Braiden did. He's silent. He doesn't speak. So he can sneak from here to there and be into something without giggling about it too much," said Elliot.
Kristin and Elliot credit the doctors of Mercy Children's Hospital with keeping Ethan alive during his worst days 2 years ago.
They say specialists are constantly checking up on Ethan, even if they are not treating Ethan at that particular time.
"When you see that you know that they really care about the kids that they're treating, and they care about their success and overall health and well-being. You're not just a patient to them," said Kristin.
They were told his abnormalities were "incompatible with life," but Ethan Metzger is very much alive.
So, is Ethan a miracle? Kristin and Elliot don't think twice when answering that question.
"He's definitely a miracle."
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