Preemie baby now thriving at three years old - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Preemie baby now thriving at three years old

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A high risk pregnancy turned into an emergency delivery for a Lake Charles woman at only 30 weeks.  This once tiny, preemie girl has gone from feeding tubes and IVs to a healthy life today.

Ella Claire Hinton loves babies and knows exactly what purpose a hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit serves.  "NICUs make the babies better to go home to see their family," said Ella Claire.

It has been almost four years since Ella Claire made a very early arrival at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women.  "At 30 weeks, she decided it was time to come," said Kymberli Hinton, "she was due on 9/9 and she came on 7/7."

It was a scary time for mom, Kymberli, knowing that her baby was 2 1/2 months early and not fully developed at 3 pounds, 12 ounces.  "You fear the worst," said Kymberli, "you don't want to speak it, still don't even like thinking the worst out loud."

Elizabeth Phillips is a registered nurse and the director of the NICU at LCMH for Women.  She was there from the beginning, caring for Ella Claire, who had the typical preemie health concerns.  "They have a lot of issues with feedings, sometimes they require IV fluids, sometimes they need feeding tubes, sometimes if they're having breathing problems, they need oxygen," she said.

Louisiana ranks 49th out of 50 states when it comes to low infant birth weight, early delivery and infant mortality. That is one reason the state has accepted the first of its kind challenge to the country to reduce those numbers by 8 percent by 2014.  "We want to really focus on pre-natal care and getting to the doctor early to help prevent prematurity," said Phillips.

Ella Claire's good outcome is a true testament to her mom's pre-natal care and follow ups.  "So far she has been on track with speech and just every learning capability overall," said Kymberli.

Now, this three-year-old is able to enjoy the world around her.  "I like to play outside," said Ella Claire, "and slide and get my feet dirty!"

And Kymberli is soaking in the joys of watching her little girl grow up - healthy and strong.  "I feel that every day with her is a blessing that she's here and that she made it," said Kymberli.

The March of Dimes organization is instrumental in success stories like Ella Claire's, raising money for technology and medicines to help reduce the number of premature births.

The Hintons are this year's March of Dimes Ambassador Family!  You can meet them and walk for a great cause at the March of Dimes walk on Saturday, May 19th at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Click here for race day information.

Orange Leaf Yogurt in Lake Charles will be donating 20 percent of its sales on Tuesday, May 8th from 6:00-8:30 p.m.

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