COUNCIL BLUFFS — Ben and Courtney DeVries are waiting on their little guy to grow.
Born on Nov. 15, 2011, Aiden DeVries arrived at 36 weeks and weighed four pounds. He grew at a slow rate, hovering for weeks, then months in the lowest percentiles of infant growth.
A pediatrician said the baby was perfectly healthy, but was confused by the slow growth. At 1 year old, Aiden had no teeth; today, at 19 months, he still can’t crawl. He jabbers, Ben said, with the words “Mama,” Dadda,” “Hi” and “No” among his limited vocabulary.
The DeVries are perplexed.
“His metabolism is through the roof,” said Ben.
“The kid can eat and eat and eat and he doesn’t gain a pound. His brain function is just fine. But physically, it’s such a slow progression. One month for a normal baby is 3-4 months for him. He’s growing, but at a very slow rate.”
Aiden weighs 18 pounds.
Doctors started him on a thyroid medication after blood tests showed the baby needed a boost.
They checked his brain, tissue, scanned all bones, performed ultra sounds on organs.
Everything came back perfect.
“They still can’t pinpoint what’s wrong,” Ben said. “Why is he 1½ and looks like he’s 9 months old?”
The days can be trying for the couple. Ben knows Aiden wants to be able to play with his older brother, 6-year-old Corbin, and his cousins. Corbin is Ben’s son from a previous relationship.
“This is very hard. It’s my daughter’s first son, first baby, no one else in the family is like this. We don’t know what she’s going through,” said Jodi Zarek, Courtney’s mother. “My other grandsons, they’re 3 and 4, are running around, having fun. I just hope and dream one day I’ll wake up and go over there and see Aiden running around.”
Ben added: “We want to figure out what’s going on. It’s frustrating. We don’t know what’s happening, why it’s this way. It’s like having a never-ending baby.”
Doctors recommended a chromosome test, which could solve the mystery. But the family’s medical insurance and Medicaid will not cover the cost of the test, leaving out-of-pocket cost at $2,900. Aiden’s stays in the hospital, the bone scans and variety of other tests have tapped out the DeVries’ medical coffers.
So Zarek, her brother, Jay Schnider, and others are hosting a benefit to help the couple and their sons.
A spaghetti dinner and silent auction fundraiser for the DeVries will be held starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Eagles Club, 1530 Ave. F. Supper is served until 7, while the silent auction ends at 7:30 p.m.
There’s also a fund at American National Bank in Council Bluffs for monetary donations. For more information contact Zarek at 712-242-7733 or Schnider at 402-319-7102.
“It’s just tough, it’s been very hard to accept,” Zarek said.
“We want to find out what’s wrong as soon as we can. My brother and I decided this is what we could do to help.
“I told the kids (Courtney and Ben), I don’t care what I have to do, I’ll find a way and the money to get him diagnosed.”