• January 31, 2015

Premature kids in Cove family thriving

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Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014 4:30 am

As Demie Mitlyng of Copperas Cove sat on the floor playing with her two boys, Bryce, 2, and Brelan, 4 months, it was hard to imagine a time when she was not sure if either of her babies would survive.

Mitlyng experienced premature birth with both of her pregnancies. Bryce was born at 36 weeks and Brelan was eventually born at 35 weeks after nearly being delivered at only 24 weeks.

“I had to be rushed into Scott & White for doctors to try to stop the labor,” Mitlyng said. “I went on bed rest for two weeks and got injections of hormones every week to keep my body from having contractions. The doctors told me that my uterus was not strong enough to handle the baby.”

Bryce did not have to be in the neonatal intensive care unit, but he did have to have breathing treatments. Mitlyng continues to monitor Bryce for learning or behavioral problems for which he is a higher risk due to his premature birth.

“He is everywhere walking and talking and doing everything he can. He seems perfectly normal at this point,” Mitlyng said. Bryce was born at 7 pounds, 8 ounces, although the weight of his brain was possibly only about two-thirds the size of a full-term infant.

When Brelan was born at 35 weeks, he spent three days in the NICU, which saved his life. “It was really upsetting to have him taken away to be in the NICU,” Mitlyng said. “I only got to hold him for a moment after he was born. I did not get to see him again until 24 hours later,”

Brelan is experiencing some complications common in premature babies. He still has difficulty regulating his body temperature, she said.

“He had to stay in the NICU for so long to maintain his body temperature and get his blood sugar up. Even now, if he does not have socks on his feet or a blanket wrapped around him, he is always really cold,” Mitlyng said. “He also got jaundice really badly. We have to keep a close eye on his weight and development.”

Doctors attributed part of the cause of her pre-term labor to her high-stress job that has her on her feet more than 50 hours a week. Doctors reduced her work schedule to no more than six hours a day, told her to drink plenty of water and to sit down whenever possible.

Georgia Butler, clinical nurse educator at Metroplex Hospital, said premature labor has no single cause and the reasons are largely unknown.

“Many factors may increase the risk of having a pre-term baby, many of them chronic conditions such as poor nutrition, obesity, smoking, alcohol, and drug use, hypertension and lack of prenatal care,” Butler said.

The cost of care for a premature baby can run upward of $100,000 per stay, Butler said. Even with good health insurance, the deductible and co-pay could add up to $20,000 or more. Mitlyng was covered by Women’s Medicaid and had no doctor’s bills.

She and her husband hope to have a third child but said it will be a few years from now.

“Prematurity is now a fear for us. If I do have another one, it won’t be until at least five years from now,” she said. “We are going to wait longer with the hopes that I will have a better job.”

Mitlyng is studying to be a registered nurse with a specialty in OB/GYN.

January is Premature Birth Awareness Month.

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RESOURCE BOX:

Signs of premature labor

a. Low back ache that isn’t relieved by rest and Tylenol, massage, soaking in a tub of warm water.

b. Increased vaginal discharge, especially if there is blood equal to or greater than a normal period

c. Cramping like a period that isn’t relieved by rest or Tylenol.

d. Leaking amniotic fluid.

--Courtesy of Sue Mayborn Women’s Center at Metroplex Hospital

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