Luke Lane weighs a strapping 215 pounds. This may seem like an odd fact to use as an introduction until you know a second fact: when Luke was born, he weighed only 3 pounds.
His mother tells the story.
“One morning, I woke up and said, ‘There’s something wrong with me. This does not feel normal,’” says Michelle Lane.
Thirty weeks pregnant, with chest pain, she and her husband, Rich, rushed to the doctor. They discovered that Michelle’s liver was shutting down and she was close to having a stroke. At UW Medical Center, she was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a rare, life-threatening pregnancy complication related to pre-eclampsia. The doctors induced labor — the only known treatment — and, the next day, Michelle gave birth to her son. All 3 pounds of him.
“It was terrifying. But the doctor was so patient. He knew what HELLP was. He sat with me and saw me through it,” says Lane. “I feel like I’m alive because of the care I received.”
In two days, Michelle was recovering at home. But Luke remained at UW Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for the next four weeks. And the doctors couldn’t guarantee a positive outcome.
Every evening, Michelle and Rich would visit their son in the NICU, which looked out over the University of Washington’s football stadium. At one point, Rich found himself talking to the baby. “It’s going to be okay,” he said. “You’re going to play football someday.” They decided to name their son “Luke” because it sounded like a football player’s name.
It became a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.
Luke got better, to his parents’ great relief. And Luke steadily got bigger. In fact, Luke has grown into his name. He’s now playing Husky football at the University of Washington. This fall, he will start his junior year, and he has plans to become a sports medicine doctor.
“I feel so grateful that I’m healthy and my kids are healthy,” says Michelle. “And I feel like our story is pretty special. Life has come full circle for us.”