Month-old 'miracle' baby Phinehas comes home after heart surgery

Only complication is a feeding tube

ajjohnson@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 5, 2014 

Phinehas Jude Robbins slept peacefully in his mother's arms Friday, surrounded by all the Christmas trimmings at his grandparents' home on Springlake Drive.

A feeding tube was lodged in his tiny nose, but the month-old infant didn't seem to notice, while grown-ups marveled at his existence.

Phinehas, the newborn who defied a fatal prognosis just in time for Christmas, underwent heart surgery Dec. 13 to fix a problem with his aorta. After a quick recovery at Egleston Pediatric Hospital in Atlanta, he came back to Columbus on Dec. 30 with his parents, two missionaries who call his birth a miracle.

Britton and Keri Robbins said their son has been adjusting well and sleeping through the night.

"He honestly has the best disposition of any baby that I've ever been around," Keri said proudly. "He fusses for a few seconds and then is as quiet as can be."

Britton and Keri met in New Zealand in 2008. They were living in Turkey when Keri, who had been diagnosed with primary immunodeficiency disease, became pregnant. It was then that they decided to move to Columbus, Keri's hometown, so she could get adequate prenatal care. But soon there were complications.

On Nov. 12, Phinehas was diagnosed with skeletal dysplasia because his legs, arms and chest cavity were developing several weeks behind.

Doctors told the couple the condition was not compatible for life outside the womb and it was unlikely Phinehas would survive.

Phinehas also tested positive for Down syndrome, but that was not as much a concern to his parents who had already considered adopting a baby with the condition.

As Phinehas' birth drew nigh, friends and relatives all over the world -- including many on social media -- prayed for God to spare the baby's life. And on Dec. 2, their prayers were answered when Phinehas was delivered by C-section at Midtown Medical Center. He let out a healthy squawk to the delight of his parents and more than a dozen other witnesses.

"There's nothing wrong with this baby," the doctor declared.

Phinehas still uses feeding tubes because a recent swallow study revealed that he was aspirating during bottle feedings. For now, he also has to stay hooked to a sleep apnea machine 23 hours a day to monitor his respiration rate. Both will soon be re-evaluated, his parents said.

Phinehas had his first visit to the pediatrician Thursday. "It was an awesome visit," Keri said. "He doesn't have any complications except needing the feeding tube right now."

The couple said they're overwhelmed by the outpouring they've received from the community since a story about Phinehas appeared in the Ledger-Enquirer on Christmas Day.

"People we don't even know have wanted to bless us financially," Keri said. "It's been incredible.

"But what's the most amazing thing to us is the number of people that have sent us private messages about them rededicating their lives to Jesus," she said. "They had lost faith for various reasons and seeing this miracle and seeing what we've gone through has given them hope again."

Britton and Keri said they lost everything they owned when they left Turkey. They are currently staying with Keri's parents and plan to move to Charlotte, N.C., in August so Britton can attend a Bible college there.

Friends are raising money for the family at gofundme.com. They set a goal of $15,000, and nearly $12,000 has already been raised.

Britton and Keri said they hope to turn Phinehas into a little missionary one day. But they believe he's already reaching people through his incredible story.

"Once he's well on his way developmentally we would love the opportunity to serve overseas again," Keri said. "That's our desire, but God seems to move in ways we don't understand."

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