Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Parade organized to celebrate the one year old birthday of a baby with lung disease

LAS CRUCES – Alexander Lechuga has struggled with severe respiratory illness for nearly a year, but his parents are determined to make the baby’s upcoming birthday special with a drive-by parade.

Alexander was recently discharged from his last hospital visit with breathing problems. Out of great caution over the COVID-19 pandemic and possible transmission, his parents said it was too risky to invite people to their home for a January 17th birthday party.

Instead, the congregation is invited to take part in a birthday parade for the little ones on January 22nd. Participants are asked to meet at East Picacho Elementary at 1:45 p.m. before the parade begins at 2:00 p.m. The family address is 910 Lark Platz.

Alexander was born on January 17, 2021 to Alexis Rodriguez (22) and Angel Lechuga (23). Rodriguez said there were no problems during labor and delivery, but his breathing sounded strange or “junky” a few days later. She was told by doctors that babies sometimes breathe fluids in the womb and Alexander’s breathing should improve within a week or so. However, a month or two later, the baby was still having difficulty breathing and panting.

Alexander Lechuga, who turns one on January 17, 2022, has struggled with respiratory problems all his life.  To make his birthday special, his parents are holding a parade on January 22nd that everyone can attend.

At this point, Alexander was prescribed medication and a home nebulizer. August 2021 came and the baby was hospitalized with an uncontrollable fever and a contracting stomach, which caused his airways to close.

“He had RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), pneumonia, bronchitis and the rhinovirus all at the same time. It was pretty scary, ”said Rodriguez. The boy’s oxygen level was also below normal.

That hospital visit lasted about a week and a half before Alexander was sent home with oxygen. Rodriguez said her son was given oxygen from August through October. Two weeks after his oxygen was removed, he was back in the hospital with the same infections as in August.

“That’s when they started diagnosing him as an asthma patient, but they really wouldn’t give him that exact name because they don’t diagnose you until after the age of two, because children often grow out of it,” Rodriguez said.

Alexander was prescribed a steroid to treat possible asthma and was sent back home. The family recently went back to the hospital on January 2 when the baby’s breathing got worse again. Due to a change in visiting policy at Memorial Medical Center, Rodriguez said she stayed in the hospital with her son for almost a week without being replaced by her fiancé.

Alexander Lechuga, who turns one on January 17, 2022, has struggled with respiratory problems all his life.  He is here with his father Angel Lechuga and older brother Angel Jr.

The boy’s parents said they were more concerned now that none of the treatments prescribed last year had worked over the long term. Rodriguez said she feared something was developmentally wrong with her son’s lungs, but the doctors have never done any scans.

She said she contracted COVID-19 during her seventh month of pregnancy and told doctors this as a possible obstacle to her baby’s lung development. Medical staff tell her that there isn’t enough research on the virus to determine anything like this.

Alexander is now at home with his family, but is still receiving oxygen. His mother said they are working with his pediatricians to see if they can be referred to a pulmonologist.

She added that her baby’s hospitalizations also weighed on her older son, Angel Lechuga Jr., who is two years old.

“He and his brother are best friends,” said Rodriguez. “Angel Jr. would ask, ‘Where is my brother? Where is my mother?’ And we’d ask her and everything FaceTime and (Angel Jr.), ‘Mom is coming home, bringing baby home.’ “

The parents even had to get both children out of daycare for fear that Alexander could be infected with COVID-19, especially since he already has lung and breathing problems.

Rodriguez said the baby was developmentally advanced along with his lungs. He started walking when he was nine months old.

Las Cruces police, fire brigade, local auto and motorcycle clubs have all reached out to the family for the birthday parade. Many parishioners have also expressed their interest. The local bakery Vaquita Creations is even donating a cake for the celebrations.

Everyone is invited to join the January 22nd parade and help make Alexander’s first birthday special.

Leah Romero is the hip reporter for Las Cruces Sun-News and can be reached on Twitter at 575-418-3442, [email protected] or @rromero_leah.

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