- Associated Press - Sunday, August 31, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - William Nyberg was expected to die.

He was born 16 weeks early, at 23 weeks gestation: the edge of viability for a newborn.

William was 1 pound, 6 ounces and about the size of a water bottle, recalled his parents, Nicole and Josh Nyberg.

“I was afraid for Nicole and I didn’t think William was going to live,” Josh recalled.

Josh looked down at William as Nicole held him in her arms on a couch in their Bloomington home on Tuesday.

“His whole story is a miracle,” Josh said.

William came home for the first time last week, his latest in a series of odds-defying moves which began on April 28.

Nicole had experienced bleeding and premature contractions and was put on bed rest by her obstetrician/gynecologist. Later, excessive bleeding resulted in her being admitted to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal. She was having contractions and the placenta had separated from the uterine lining. The baby would need to be delivered by emergency Caesarean section.

“I said, ‘No, he can’t make it,’” said Nicole, a neonatal nurse practitioner at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. “I was devastated.”

William was born on April 28 at BroMenn, where he was resuscitated and transported to Carle, because it has a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

“I just prayed,” Josh said.

But Nicole said, “Once I knew he was alive, I had a sense of calm. I knew everything was going to be all right.”

“Based on the data, his survival (rate) was 15 percent and his survival without moderate to severe impairment was 5 percent,” said Dr. Vitaliy Soloveychik, a neonatologist who was among William’s doctors at Carle.

Soloveychik and his colleagues went to work. In addition to being on oxygen, William received blood transfusions, ultrasounds and echo-cardiograms; he took antibiotics because of infection, and medicine to help his lungs mature. He underwent surgery in Peoria to correct abnormal blood flow between the aorta and pulmonary artery.

He was kept in a quiet, dark, humid area of the NICU. “The idea is to make it as much as possible as if he was still inside me,” Nicole said.

Nicole breastfed William and held him as much as possible. During those three months, Nicole stayed at Carle and returned to work. Josh - who has an 8-year-old daughter, Reece, and is an equipment operator for R.P. Lumber in Bloomington - split his time between Urbana and Bloomington.

“Those months when he was in the hospital were exhausting and emotionally draining,” Nicole said. “But William was doing well. To see the miracle before my eyes every day was amazing.”

William came home on July 28, three weeks before his Aug. 21 due date, Soloveychik said.

“We call him ‘Strong Willed,’” Josh said. “He had the will to fight to live.”

Soloveychik credits William’s thriving to quick response at BroMenn, excellent care at Carle and the love of his parents, including breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact by Nicole.

William, now 5 pounds 11 ounces, is not out of the woods. He remains on oxygen because of a mild case of chronic lung disease; is on a continuous monitor that tracks his heart rate and oxygen levels in his blood; and is on an apnea monitor. His parents seldom take him outside because of the risk of infection. Most of his trips are for doctors’ appointments.

“He’ll be months behind the developmental milestones, as would any preemie,” Nicole said. “Beyond that, we have no reason to believe that he won’t be a healthy toddler and won’t able to go to school on time.”

“We are extremely happy for the baby and the family,” Soloveychik said. “He has had excellent outcomes. Of course, we can’t predict what the future will bring. But I would predict great outcomes.”

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Source: The (Bloomington) Pantagraph, http://bit.ly/1u1fyUK

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Information from: The Pantagraph, http://www.pantagraph.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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