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The Hood Magazine

'Hood Inspired: Manning Churchill

04/22/2019 02:42PM ● By Digital Media Director

By: Jessica Brovold

When she was 22 weeks pregnant with twin boys, Melissa Churchill was put in the hospital with high blood pressure and preeclampsia. Just four weeks later, she went into liver failure and was forced to deliver Maverick and Manning at just 26 weeks and three days gestation. Mom and her baby boys were all transferred to the intensive care unit where it was a matter of waiting to see what would happen next.

While Melissa slowly recovered without needing a liver transplant, the future for her twins was one she did not envision. Maverick did not survive, and Manning had quite the fight ahead of him.

“Manning spent 123 days in the NICU. He has a lot of medical complexities including a trach, a feeding tube, he’s deaf and has vision impairment,” said Melissa. “I still have my days when I can tell he’s not typical, but I can tell he’s progressing.”

Manning is now 18 months old and so far, he’s defying the odds. He attends regular therapy sessions at LifeScape.

“We were told he’d like just keep getting bigger, but not better,” said Melissa. “He can do so much! He sits, he rolls, he’s starting to army crawl, he’s doing really well.”

Melissa and her husband, Jeremy also have four other children at home.

Madden, their five-year-old, also has some special needs, but so far, the family has figured out a way to juggle their busy schedules.

“In the beginning it was hard to juggle with all the appointments,” said Melissa. “We moved to Luverne because of the benefits in Minnesota. I am now a paid caretaker for Manning and I can schedule therapies while the other kids are in school. He’s not the easiest to take everywhere. They’re at the ages where they want to be on the go all the time.”

The older kids know their younger siblings with special needs require extra time and attention and while it’s not always easy, Melissa says she’s learned a lot through her journey.

“Take the help that is offered to you,” said Melissa. “Don’t be afraid to say you need help. There are a lot of resources out there. You sometimes must dig, but never give up. Doctors might also say things, but every child is different, you have to remain hopeful.”