Nathan’s Story

The founding of Pebbles of Hope was inspired by Executive Director Cheryl Chotrani’s personal, wrenching experience with the premature birth of her son Nathan.

Fifteen weeks into her pregnancy, Cheryl’s membranes ruptured and she had little amniotic fluid remaining. The prognosis was grim: The baby could die. If the pregnancy continued, the baby would suffer from premature birth, immature lungs, possible brain damage, related complications, and would have a very low chance of long-term survival.

Cheryl decided that as long as there was some hope, she would carry the pregnancy through.
At 24 weeks, Cheryl went into labor and delivered a baby boy, Nathan Sunil Chotrani. He weighed just 1 lb 2 oz.

Nathan had much to overcome. In his first day, he suffered from respiratory distress and a collapsed lung. At one week, Nathan suffered a bowel perforation, which put him at very high risk of becoming septic so he was placed on every possible antibiotic to see whether his tiny body could mobilize his immune system enough to fight the infection. Somehow, Nathan managed to heal.

Then, X-rays revealed that Nathan had developed scar tissue creating a blockage in his intestines, making him unable to pass anything through his system, and had to receive his nutrition via IV fluid. At five weeks and just shy of two pounds, Nathan had surgery to repair the blockage.

The oxygen Nathan had been receiving since birth damaged the blood vessels in his eyes and caused him to get a disease called retinopathy of prematurity, which is common in premature babies. Nathan had a very severe form of the disease and even with laser eye treatment, he would have about a 50% chance of going blind. Fortunately, he was able to receive an innovative new treatment and he is now expected to have good/normal vision.

Almost all of Nathan’s major organ systems were affected by his prematurity.

After 140 days in the NICU, Nathan finally went home. Once given less than a 10% chance of survival, he’s now expected to have a normal, healthy life.

Many factors, especially the fortune of being born in a leading-edge facility, and advances in technology and treatment, played a role in Nathan’s survival.

Nathan’s parents, Cheryl and Sunil Chotrani believe all babies, regardless of where they are born, should have a chance at life just like Nathan, and are working through Pebbles of Hope to make the difference.

Giving the world’s smallest babies a fighting chance.