Kyler's Story
by Mandy


My name is Mandy. I am 21 years old and the mother of a preemie. My son Kyler was born on June 9, 2000 at 32 weeks' gestation.  My story is a long one but I hope that it can inspire others.

I didn't plan on becoming pregnant but I knew right away that I was. I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. I was happy but shocked. Everything was going along well, in January I had a miscarriage scare at around three months. I was spotting a little blood and had to go to the hospital. There I was given an ultrasound and I got to see the first glimpse of my little baby. It showed that everything was fine with me and my baby.
I continued with my regular prenatal care and decided around 19 weeks' gestation to get the alpha-feto protein test to screen for Down's Syndrome and Neural Tube Defects such as Spina Bifida. I thought nothing more of the test until I received a phone call from my doctor. It had to be one of the most devastating things that I had ever heard. She told me that the test results were back and it showed that my baby was at high risk for having Down's Syndrome, a 1 in 34 chance. She told me that I would be sent to a Women's high risk clinic for a level II ultrasound. She explained to me that the level II ultrasound machines were more powerful and could detect any abnormalities in my baby that are common in Down's Syndrome babies such as a thicker neck and heart defects. The worse thing was that I had to wait six weeks (until I was further along) to get the ultrasound done. So I waited and worried for six long weeks.
I finally went to the high risk clinic where I received the level II ultrasound.  Me boyfriend and I were extremely nervous. The doctor scanned my belly and I saw my beautiful baby swimming around kicking and punching. His heart beating strong and fast. I was totally amazed by this living being thriving inside me. The doctor took several pictures and analyzed them. He came back in the room and told me that my baby was a boy and that he didn't recommend an amniocentisis because my baby looked healthy. I was totally relieved. 
At 29 weeks' gestation I went to my doctor for my regular checkup.  She measured my fundal height and said that it was measuring off. She recommended that I go to my hospital and receive an ultrasound to measure my baby. I had the ultrasound done and it showed that my baby was small for dates. I went back to my doctor an she told me that my baby was suffering from Intrauterine Growth Restriction which just means that my baby was small for some reason. She said that I should go back to the high risk clinic for another level II ultrasound. I was scared all over again because a small baby can be caused by Down's Syndrome. I thought for sure that my baby had it.
At 32 weeks' gestation I went back to the high risk clinic for my ultrasound. After they analyzed the pictures they told me that the reason my baby was small for dates was because I had a disorder with my placenta called "placental insufficiency".  This is where the placenta does not provide enough nutrients to the baby for it to grow. They told me that this was why my AFP test came back abnormal. I was relieved but scared.
I went to the hospital that day where they administered steroid shots to develop my son's still immature lungs. I received two shots over a 48 hour period and on the third day they started inducing my labor. They started me on Pitocin and broke my water.  When the contractions started my baby's heart rate dropped. It seemed that he couldn't stand the stress of the contractions.  I was prepped and ready for a C-section. After an hour my beautiful son Kyler was born weighing 3lbs. 9oz. and 18 inches long. He had the strongest cry I ever heard and his lungs seemed to be functioning really well. 
Kyler was cleaned and taken to the NICU. For the next 18 days we traveled 55 miles to the hospital to visit our son. He seemed so tiny lying in his isolette. The steroid shot had a good effect on Kyler because he was breathing on his own. He was never on a ventilator and was only on oxygen for two days. He had no infections and was administered nutrients through the IV for about three or four days. The remainder of his time in the NICU was for him to gain weight and learn how to nurse. He was gavage fed for about a week and a half before he started to nurse. 
After 18 days he finally came home weighing 4lbs. 1oz. So very tiny!!!!  Well today Kyler is eleven-months-old and weighs 20lbs. You could never tell he was a preemie by looking at him today. He is doing extremely well and  I feel so lucky to have a healthy, happy son.