When Paige and Dedrick were married in October of 2015, they knew having kids was something they both wanted. They both came from large families and having a kid was the next step in their happiness.
After five months of marriage, a pregnancy test confirmed that in December they would be parents! During their first appointment and ultrasound, the tech kept saying how she had never seen a baby be implanted so far to the side. Once they saw the gynecologist, worry and concern began to set in. They were told that the pregnancy may be ectopic, implanted too close to the fallopian tubes, and they should prepare for the possibility of termination. Luckily, after meeting with a maternal fetal medicine specialist, they found out the pregnancy was, in fact, viable and the gynecologist had been wrong. On her next appointment, Paige was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. After trying a change in diet and a small dose of medicine, she had to be placed on insulin and administer it to herself four times a day. This regulated her blood sugar and things were finally going well.
At her 18-week checkup the baby was measuring two weeks behind and during the exam to check for chromosomal issues she was diagnosed with a blood disorder called anticardiolipin. This put Paige at a higher risk of blood clots. She was then put on another medicine to help prevent this. The hope was that this medicine would help the baby start growing. After nothing seemed to help, and after doing her own research she discovered that she had IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction). At every appointment, she became more and more discouraged as she was told time and time again that her baby would most like not survive in utero. Paige’s mother would remind them, at every appointment, that God was bigger than this and only his plans mattered.
At her 26-week check-up, a nurse practitioner came in and informed them that there was no fluid left and that their precious baby would not survive the week.
Paige could not understand how this could happen. Every day she could feel him kicking and rolling around inside of her. This baby boy was strong and she refused to believe that he wouldn’t survive. The following week they returned to find the baby’s heartbeat just as strong as it has ever been and he was finally weighing a viable weight, 500 grams. This was finally the little hope that they had been needing. They were sent straight to the hospital and Paige was put on strict bed rest. She was hooked up to a magnesium drip, given steroid shots and prepared for an upcoming c-section.
On Saturday, September 17, Dylan James was brought into the world weighing 390 grams, 13.9 oz.
The first few days were great. Dylan was hooked up to the ventilator, but on the day that Paige was discharged he had to be put on the oscillating ventilator because he could not stay oxygenated.
That ventilator became his lifeline and he stayed there for a month. Dylan soon developed an infection from being on the vent and had his first transfusion. He eventually moved back down to the traditional vent and then onto a CPAP. He did so good on CPAP, that the next day he was placed on a high flow cannula. He was finally able to be held. This is such an amazing feeling as a NICU mom.
Dylan seemed to be growing well and gaining weight at a slow but steady pace but was still too small to be out of the incubator. Over the next few months, he was given a PICC line and more transfusions and had to deal with a distended stomach and apnea spells. When he was finally moved to an open crib he was able to get his first bottle feed. He was a great eater but it was soon discovered that he had reflux due to his premature birth. That began a long three-week process of finding what formula and medications would help control it. Dylan spent most of the rest of his time being held and loved on by the NICU nurses. At this point, he had been there for 3 months and had already gone through the circulation of nurses twice. Dylan finally came home after spending 135 days in the NICU.
Today he is a wild, loud, and crazy 11-month-old weighing around 14 pounds. He’s crawling, cruising around furniture, and screaming all the while. He is still taking medication for his reflux and seeing GI once every 3 months. He’s also in physical therapy. Paige says “It was a struggle to get him here but he is our biggest and greatest blessing. I thank God that I never lost hope and faith in our baby boy.”
Writer Info: Franklin family story written by Tonya Nelms.
Photographer Courtney Edwards resides in Memphis, Tennessee and has specialized in newborn and family photography since 2013. Courtney’s daughter was born at 35 weeks, weighing 4.10 lbs, and spent 10 days in NICU, making the NICU a place that is near and dear to her heart. Find her business website at www.courtneyedwards.com or on Facebook at Facebook.com/courtneyedwardsphotography