Chandler mom who gave birth to micro-preemie celebrates his growth SanTan Sun News

Chandler mom who gave birth to micro-preemie celebrates his growth

May 9th, 2017 | by SanTan Sun News
Chandler mom who gave birth to micro-preemie celebrates his growth
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By Colleen Sparks

Mother’s Day is a special time, when women often reflect on how much their babies, whether they are infants or adults, have grown and accomplished.

But Chandler resident Mitzie Warner, 39, may be counting her blessings even more than other moms because her baby boy, Dylan, was born prematurely at 1 pound, 8 ounces a little over a year ago.

A premature birth is when the baby is born more than three weeks before it is due, according to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research website. A “very pre-term” baby is one born at less than 32 weeks of pregnancy, the site said.

Not only was Dylan born prematurely, with his left eye fused shut, but Warner had struggled since her early 30s to conceive.

She and her husband, Jeremy, had suffered heartbreak and spent about $60,000 on fertility treatments before she got pregnant. Wagner went through a few rounds of intrauterine insemination, a process where sperm are washed and put directly into a woman’s uterus or Fallopian tubes about the time the ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized.

But the process did not result in pregnancy for her. She then did a round of in vitro fertilization (IVF), where eggs are removed from a woman’s body and combined with sperm in a laboratory dish. Then the fertilized egg or embryo is transferred to the uterus in this complex procedure.

Warner did not get pregnant after the first round of IVF, either.

“I tried a variety of things,” to get pregnant, said Warner, who had worked in public relations for a Scottsdale firm. “Nothing worked. I was devastated. I felt so defeated and so sad and so mentally drained that it was like I can’t do this anymore.”

A few years later she tried IVF again, and this time it worked.

At last, in November 2015, Warner learned she was pregnant. Everything seemed to be going well at her doctor’s appointments, but after about 25 weeks, she started bleeding.

“I’m thinking I’m miscarrying,” Warner said. “I felt so helpless. I had to get to the hospital. They did a workup; they said the baby’s fine. I had a bladder infection.”

In April 2016, she was admitted to the hospital, where she learned her baby’s membranes had ruptured, meaning the baby had an infection and had to be delivered early.

“We just were so caught off guard,” Warner said. “It was hard to even process. I ended up having the baby at exactly 26 weeks. We just had to take it a day at a time.

“I couldn’t hold him for a week,” she added. “He did not come home (from the hospital) until the end of August.”

Baby Dylan suffered from retinopathy of prematurity, a potentially blinding eye disorder that mainly affects premature infants who weigh 2. pounds or less.

But he’s made tremendous progress, and a recent doctor’s appointment revealed he is seeing normally. He is crawling and “growing at his own pace.”

“I feel so happy,” Warner said. “I feel like everything came together and it was all worth it.”

Photo by Jeremy Warner

She said Dylan is thriving because of support from loving friends, family and neighbors in Chandler, as well as help from pediatric physical therapist Candy Bromley with RISE, Early Intervention Services. The company helps families meet their young children’s developmental and health-related needs. Its main office is in Mesa and therapy is offered to children around the state, with many therapists around the East Valley.

Warner said Bromley helps Dylan with his motor skills development.

“He is a super-curious and smart little guy,” Bromley said of Dylan in an email. “He makes progress between each visit. He continues to gain skills that bring him closer to his chronological age. He will take on the world!”

Warner has been sharing her story because she wants to help other women struggling with infertility. At a March of Dimes Walk in April in downtown Phoenix, she and her husband, along with their family members and friends, raised close to $1,500 for the organization, which generates funds to try to prevent premature births.

She’s not alone in her struggle, according to Dr. Drew Moffitt, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist practicing in Gilbert. He’s also director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Banner University Medical Center in downtown Phoenix and on the faculty for the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix campus.

About 12 percent of women ages 15 to 44 in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s statistics posted online in March.

Moffitt said it’s important for women to see a doctor early on if they have problems conceiving.

“One of the biggest challenges we have is people postponing when they try” to get pregnant, he said.

If women are not ready to have a baby yet, he recommended they consider fertility preservation, where they freeze their eggs, ideally when they are between the ages of 25 and 34, to increase their chances of getting pregnant. Their odds of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby decrease greatly after age 40.

IVF treatments are not cheap and most health insurance plans do not cover such services. These treatments typically cost $8,000 to $10,000 per cycle, Moffitt said.

His practice is going to start offering the fertility preservation soon and will likely charge people either $150 a month to store their eggs or $7,000 paid upfront for an unlimited storage time and no monthly costs.

As for Wagner, she enjoyed celebrating Dylan’s one-year birthday on Easter and is grateful every day for him.

“To be able to have him home this Mother’s Day, it’s a wonderful feeling, especially the fact that I get to celebrate with him at the house,” she said.

“It’s a miracle. He’s a miracle. He was worth the wait.”

To learn more about infertility treatments, visit resolve.org.

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