Rece and his big brother are pretty much inseparable. If Lane goes down the slide, Rece is never far behind. The little boys couldn't be any closer. So when something happened that almost changed their lives forever, Brenda Mostek's first thought was how to break the news.
"This whole time my mind is thinking how am I going to tell my older son he lost his brother,"she says.
To understand how close Rece came to dying, you need to travel back to February 9, 2012 – that's when Brenda got the call every mother fears. Her husband was on the other end of the phone.
"He was frantic saying Rece isn't breathing, he's turning blue, you have to get to Lakeside now,"she recalled.
Rece had just been released from another hospital. He had been treated for pneumonia. His dad was afraid he'd swallowed play dough or snacks went down the wrong way - either way it wasn't good.
"He was turning blue on me and he was grasping for air,"said Rece's dad Jamie.
"He looked awful,"Dr. Rue says. "He was blue, very pale, and not breathing well, when he got here. We had to immediately give him medicine to get him intubated, so we could help him breathe."
But Dr. Rue and her team couldn't see anything in Rece's airway. Whatever he swallowed was lodged pretty deep. Rece was struggling.
"Normally you do a chest x-ray and the lungs should look nice and black because they are full of air - his didn't - one side looked completely white,"said Dr. Rue.
Once the team at Lakeside was able to get Rece's oxygen level up and the little guy was stable, Dr. Rue called in the Children's Hospital & Medical Center Critical Care Transport Team.
Pediatric pulmonologist, Paul Sammut, M.D. said Rece was deteriorating rapidly.
Rece was placed on ECMO - it's like a bypass machine that does the work for your heart and lungs. Surgeons went to work to try to remove what was killing the little boy. After a lot of prayers, the Mosteks had an answer.
"Four or five surgeons came out. I'll never forget this. They gave us the thumbs up and they had popcorn kernels in a cup,"said Brenda.
Rece and his family went through all this because of a couple of unpopped kernels of corn that doctors suspect were stuck in the boy's lung for weeks. Today Rece is happy, healthy, and about to celebrate his second birthday. His parents are grateful for Alegent Health Lakeside Hospital and Children's Hospital & Medical Center, both of which played a pivotal role in saving Lane's little brother.
"This was truly a team effort,"said Dr. Sammut, and Rece's parents couldn't be more grateful.
"We were told by a couple of doctors that if this had happened anywhere in Nebraska other than Omaha - this story would have had a different ending,"said Brenda. "We are so lucky to be here and have the medical support we have in Omaha."
Medical support that starts with easy access to the area's only full-service hospital in West Omaha. Lakeside Hospital, like the other Alegent Health emergency departments, provides expert care when you need it most.