LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A Little Rock family is thankful of the doctors and facilities here in Arkansas for helping their baby survive.
Eight months ago Daniel and Haley Lynch were nervous and excited about becoming first-time parents. They expected him to arrive at the normal time of nine months, but he arrived in six. At 28 weeks, hours of pain sent Haley to Conway Regional Hospital.
"They got me in a room, and he was breach, so they had to take me and do an emergency c-section, and no one was allowed in there, and Angel was right there waiting on him when I had him," said Hayley.
An air ambulance transported tiny newborn Dennie Joe immediately to Arkansas Children's Hospital. Now, 8 weeks into life this little miracle is growing and improving daily.
"Babies that are born normal--you take them home and a few days later play with them, they're feeding, they're breathing. You never think about sitting there looking at him," said Daniel. "Not really for the first month, not being able to hold him or touch him really. You never really think about stuff like that going on, but it's real."
Ellen Mallard, NICU nurse educator said many premature births are a mystery.
"Most of the time there's not a good reason. I think that's the big mystery that surrounds premature delivery," said Mallard. "I think that's what March of Dimes is trying to figure out."
According to the March of Dimes, Arkansas has been improving in helping pre-term babies survive and stay healthy over the last five years.
The March of Dimes says nationwide, the largest declines in preterm birth occurred among babies born at 34 to 36 weeks of pregnancy, but the improvement was across the board. Every racial and ethnic group benefited, and the preterm birth rates for babies born at all stages of pregnancy improved.
Since 2006, Arkansas' preterm birth rate has dropped. In Arkansas, the rate of late preterm births is 13.2%, the rate of women smoking is 29.7% and the rate of uninsured women is 28.2%.