Updated: 05/13/2014 5:28 PM
Created: 04/25/2014 3:22 PM KSTP.com
By: Naomi Pescovitz
An Arden Hills family is celebrating a year full of miracles.
The earliest moments of 1-year-old Connor Miller's life were not the way his parents envisioned.
"You kind of have a vibe in the delivery room, you can tell everything's going smoothly, but then as soon as they started pulling him out, you could feel the vibe change," said Connor's dad, Tony Miller.
Connor was born premature. It was the beginning of a long battle with a genetic condition called Factor V Leiden. The disorder can cause serious blood clots and Connor developed a clot in an artery in his left arm.
"You could see immediately that his arm was, from the elbow down, swollen and very much different and very much in pain," Tony Miller said.
"It was like we had heard all along, you have to wait and see, you have to wait and see, probably three of my least favorite words to this day," said Connor's mom, Becky Miller.
By 1 month old, Connor was preparing for surgery at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in an attempt to save his arm from amputation.
"He had large areas of skin that died on his arm. So, it was our job to figure out how to close that," said Dr. Robert Wood, pediatric craniofacial and plastic surgeon at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.
Doctors performed a skin graft with tissue from Connor's leg. His arm was saved.
"Connor's doing very well. And that's typical of children. They always do better than you think they are going to do," Wood said.
"I think given everything he went through, he is incredibly resilient and stubborn. And I think it's the perfect personality for him to continue fighting his battles," Becky Miller said.
Connor celebrated his first birthday in April and for the most part, can use his left arm normally.
"We had a superhero-themed party since he really truly is our superhero," Becky Miller said.
Tony, Becky and Connor's older brother Parker can hardly keep up.
"Connor is crazy, I think that's the best way to explain him," Becky Miller said.
"He's a go-getter. He's our little hero," Becky Miller said.
Between 3 and 8 percent of Caucasians carry the Factor V Leiden mutation. It is less common for other populations.
Connor has one more procedure in a few weeks to help him get even more movement in his hand. Right now, he is not on any medication and doctors say with physical therapy he should be able to live a normal life.