Aiden and Brayden Coglianese, identical twins, were born at Rockdale Medical Center on Feb. 6. Their mother, 20-year-old, Kristina Coglianese previously had been ordered to bed rest because of an early labor scare.
At 32-weeks, the twin’s lungs were deemed formed enough for Kristina to deliver through C-section. As premies, the boys needed a little extra attention in the maternity ward. Brayden thrived, while Aiden quickly deteriorated. After a week, Brayden went home. Aiden was transferred to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in March.
"I’ve only ever held him twice," said Kristina.
Both Kristina and her father Jimmy Coglianese, who she, her 2-year-old daughter Haylee and Brayden live with, said that all the doctors who have examined Aiden are puzzled by his condition. While on bed rest Kristina was hooked to all sorts of monitors and neither of the twins showed any signs of distress.
However, when Aiden was born Kristina and Jimmy quickly realized that the infant made no sound when he cried. Upon closer examination doctors discovered that his vocal chords were shifted to one side and that his epiglottis, the tissue flap at the base of the tongue that prevents food from going into windpipe during swallowing, did not work properly. He has to be fed through a tube inserted into his nose, and because he has on one occasion stopped breathing, he is constantly connected to an oxygen machine. Doctors also have noted severe muscle damage all over the baby’s body, but can point to no particular cause for the deterioration. His tiny body is medicated with morphine for pain.
Kristina has been told that Aiden will never walk and will likely not make it to his first birthday.
"If he did come home, it would probably be to pass away," Kristina said.
As a mother of two healthy children and one in critical condition, Kristina said the hardest part is budgeting her time. She wants to spend as much time with Aiden in Atlanta as possible but, in doing so, feels like she neglects her other two children.
Both Kristina and her father said they hope more focused tests will reveal the cause of Aiden’s maladies so he can be treated and recover.
"We’re hoping for a miracle," Kristina said.
Because Kristina is a single mother, her father helped her set up a fund with BB&T to offset medical expenses or for funeral expenses in the event the child perishes. While Kristina is covered by medical insurance, she is responsible for 20 percent of the costs incurred. She said the bill for just his month at Rockdale Medical Center is close to $300,000.
"At first I thought, ‘why me — why am I the only one going through this?’" Kristina said. "Then I realized I’m not and I just want other mothers to know that they’re not alone. Other people have gone through the same thing or something like it."
Those who wish to donate to the Aiden Christopher Coglianese fund may do so at any BB&T location by simply saying his name. Donors will be given a tax receipt so they may itemize a deduction as a charitable contribution.