Dayne Harold Bennett was born nearly 17 weeks early at 23
weeks gestation on Oct. 27, 2007, weighing 1 pound 4 ounces
and measuring 11 inches long. Issues began in my 22nd week of
pregnancy at which time I was taken by ambulance to Mercy
from Knoxville. I was put on my "head" to let gravity work and
give Dayne the much needed extra weeks. Against all odds and
with many doubts from the doctors, labor held off for eight
days, saving Dayne's life. He was doing amazingly well and had a
pretty uneventful first week. After this grace period, his tiny
body was having trouble keeping up, so he was put on the high
frequency ventilator and had up and down days for a while. The
biggest scare came when Dayne was two weeks old. His body
was backing up with fluid, pushing on his lungs, and causing his
kidneys to shut down. He was very sick and not expected to live.
A drain was put in his belly to try and alleviate some pressure
and stabilize him enough to take to surgery if need be.
Thankfully, a drain was all he needed. After that scare, Dayne's
stay was pretty uneventful in “micro-preemie life.” I was finally
able to hold him when he was all but a month old. By the
beginning of December 2007, he no longer needed the
ventilator and was breathing on his own with the help of
vapotherm. He had several blood and platelet transfusions and
went through a couple weeks of spells where he would have to
be bagged to get his heart and oxygen up, but he otherwise was
a healthy, thriving boy.
He was finally able to come home on January 28, 2008 after 93 days in the NICU. He came home on oxygen and various monitors. Two weeks later, Dayne was readmitted for laser eye surgery to correct retinopathy of prematurity, a common issue with preemies. What was supposed to be an overnight stay turned into a week’s stay due to high blood pressure, so we ended with a total of a 100-day NICU stay. At seven months old, Dayne developed breathing difficulties. An exploratory surgery was performed and a cyst that was blocking over half his airway was discovered and removed. The cause was thought to be from being intubated for a period of time as a newborn. After that surgery, he thrived and was caught up developmentally to his peers by 10 months old.
Today, at almost 12 years old, Dayne has no long-term health problems and is a very intelligent sixth grader who is at the top of his class for reading and math. Dayne is an amazing miracle, and I credit him doing so well to the great care he received at Mercy NICU! His nurses treated him as their own and took great care of him when his dad or I couldn't be there. He is an All-Star for sure! It is really hard to believe he was born so early looking at him now as a 100 pound kid!