|Tyler Brown is the grandson of Garth and Lori Labrum of Orangeville. He was born three months early.|
November is prematurity awareness month, and the March of Dimes is trying to bring the issue to the minds of Utahns. During the past decade the number of premature babies born in Utah has risen by 3 percent. That rate is 1.6 percent above the national average. The March of Dimes kicked off a campaign three years ago to raise awareness of this problem, and doctors have undertaken studies to try and determine why the Utah average is higher than the national average.
Nancy Brown, daughter of Garth and Lori Labrum of Orangeville, gave birth to her son Tyler on Sept. 21. He was three months early. Nancy and her husband Dallas reside in West Valley City and had been expecting a Christmas baby. Their doctor has no idea why Tyler came early. Tyler was just 13 inches long and weighed only one pound 11 ounces. He was delivered by C-section after only 25 weeks in the womb.
Following the delivery, Tyler was airlifted from Alta View Hospital to LDS Hospital. The doctors were optimistic about his survival and gave him an 80 percent chance because he was proving to be such a fighter. During his first day of life, he received the first of many expected blood transfusions.
When Tyler was three days old, he underwent heart surgery to repair a heart murmur. Then came the transfer to Primary Children's Hospital. He was diagnosed with brain bleeds and a second surgery, which was brain surgery came on his one month birthday, Oct. 21. Brain bleeds are a common occurrence for preemies, and create pressure on the brain which must be relieved.
While Tyler struggles for life in an incubator and a ventilator helps him breathe, Nancy and Dallas, along with the grandparents, keep up the vigil. Nancy and Dallas were given the opportunity to hold their new son for the first time when he was three weeks old. For the grandparents, that opportunity came the first part of November.
Tyler is expected to be strong enough and well enough to be sent home from the hospital around Christmas time. With his first months hospital bill exceeding $160,000, the expense for Tyler's survival is mounting quickly. Nancy and Dallas expect the costs to exceed $1 million. Tyler's story was recently featured in the Salt Lake Tribune. On Nov. 12, he weighed three pounds 11 ounces, and has grown to 15 and one half inches long.
As the research goes on, doctors are hoping to be able to predict who will and who will not be in danger of giving birth prematurely. Armed with this knowledge, they hope to be able to give more mothers and their babies a better chance to reach full term in pregnancy.