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Healthwatch 16 — Prematurity Awareness Month

Babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy are considered premature. Newswatch 16's Nikki Krize spoke with a family all too familiar with preterm birth.

MILL HALL, Pa. — Ryan Everett of Mill Hall is a happy and healthy 3-year-old boy. That was not always the case. Ryan was born at 26 weeks, more than three months before his due date.

"When we arrived at the hospital, I wasn't in active labor, so they kind of just said, 'We're waiting for a room to clear.' All of a sudden, things turned south quickly, and I was rushed for an emergency C-section," Teresa Everett recalled.

Ryan was not breathing and had a low heartbeat when he was born at Geisinger Medical Center near Danville. He was extremely premature and spent four and a half months in Geisinger's neonatal intensive care unit or NICU.

Dr. Ray Hayes is one of the doctors who treated Ryan. He says it's also his job to care for the baby's family.

"All the specialized care that goes into caring for someone like Ryan who was born so prematurely, but at the same time supporting the family who is going through a very stressful situation," said Dr. Hayes.

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of preterm birth.

Teresa and Rob Everett did not picture meeting their baby for the first time at Geisinger's NICU, but they credit the doctors there with saving Ryan's life.

"Everything went so quickly. If he would have been born here in Lock Haven, there is very little chance that he would have survived," Teresa said.

"It's so nice to see so many babies who are up against so many odds so early in life grow and thrive like Ryan has," Dr. Hayes added.

The Everetts say Ryan is now a normal 3-year-old boy who goes to preschool and does all of the things they worried he would never be able to do.

See more Healthwatch 16 stories on YouTube.  

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