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'Miracle Baby' finally comes home

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Scott and Brittany Armstrong have both of their daughters home at last. Brooklynn Dannyelle, right, was born Sept. 24 at 26 weeks and six days of pregnancy and weighed one pound, 14 ounces. She was about the size of her sister Kaydence’s doll, pictured left. She remained in the NICU at IU Community Hospital North, Indianapolis, for just more than three months, entering her Shelbyville home for the first time on Christmas Eve.
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Twenty-month-old Kaydence Armstrong, left, has her sister Brooklynn home at last after the infant spent the first three-and-a-half months of her life in the NICU at IU Community Hospital North in Indianapolis.

By LUANN MASON - For The Shelbyville News

Medical professionals said her baby would not survive if born at 26 weeks of pregnancy, so when Brooklynn Dannyelle waited six additional days before entering this world, weighing one pound, 14 ounces, her mom, Brittany Armstrong. knew “she was destined to be a miracle baby.”

She was born 13 weeks premature on Sept. 24.

She had an infection.

There were fears she had sepsis – a life-threatening illness caused by an infection.

But the little fighter was determined to live, and despite all of the complications she encountered, she did.

Today Brooklynn weighs eight pounds and measures 19 1-2 inches in length.

“She’s growing, but she’s just taking her time. I know that she’s perfect and she will be just fine,” said 32-year-old Armstrong. “The future looks good. I was told she wouldn’t survive, and look at her now. I know God’s got her.”

Christmas Day was the projected due date of Brooklynn’s birth, but instead, the little Miss made Christmas Day her first full day home in Shelbyville. She had spent just more than three months in IU Community Hospital North in Indianapolis with round-the-clock medical care.

“I struggled the whole pregnancy,” Armstrong said, adding that she had a difficult pregnancy with she and her husband Scott’s first daughter, Kaydence, too. Kaydence, however, was born “exactly on her due date, April 28th.” She was also a small baby at birth and is now 20 months old.

Some of the issues that likely contributed to the premature birth of Brooklynn, according to Brittany, are contractions and bleeding she had throughout the pregnancy. “I also had a subchorionic hemorrhage. It’s a tear at the base of the umbilical cord.”

For the safety of herself and the baby, Brittany’s doctor ordered complete bed rest for her on Sept. 19 at IU Community Hospital North until delivery.

“That would have been 13 weeks. I convinced them to let me go home for a couple of days,” she said, to get things in order for her extended hospital stay. “I went back in on Sept. 23 for the duration.”

Brooklynn, however, had other plans and quickly halted the doctor’s order. She was born the next day by C-section at 4:15 p.m. and started her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“She was on a respirator for one week, then off, and back on. She was not strong enough,” said Scott, 33, focusing his gaze on Brooklynn as he held her. “She’s a sweetheart.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, giving birth prematurely, which is defined as any time before 37 weeks of pregnancy, occurs in one of every 10 births. The early arrivals can have breathing, vision, and hearing problems, according to the March of Dimes website.

To put Brooklynn’s size into perspective, Brittany said at birth, her head circumference was nine inches. She compared it to the size of a mandarin orange. “The Cutie (brand). Her first clothes were doll clothes that were too big on her,” she said. “Her diaper was doll size and had to be folded in several places to fit. This may sound insane, but I’m going to say it was Barbie (doll) size.”

While Scott could not spend every minute at the hospital due to work and caring for Kaydence, he made a point to be there when he was in the area with his job. He travels around the state as an inspector and service technician for industrial overhead cranes through CraneWerks based in Morristown.

Time had no boundaries for Brittany, though.

“I drove back and forth from the hospital multiple times a day,” said Brittany. She has been a stay-at-home mom since Kaydence’s birth. “I was there at least once every 24 hours. The doctors and nurses told me they had never had a mom there as often as I was there, especially when they’ve had another child at home like me.”

Family members of both Scott and Brittany certainly helped make that possible since they all live in Shelbyville.

“Both of our families have been a huge support,” said Scott, offering and providing help however they could, including emotional support. “They were dropping everything to help us.”

He is the son of Robert and Becky Armstrong and the brother of Eric Armstrong. Brittany is the daughter of Danny and Terry Conway, and a sibling to Travis Conway (wife Faith) and Tammi Talkington (husband Rob).

Admittedly, the pregnancy from start to finish was an emotional roller coaster, which increased in intensity after Brooklynn’s birth.

“I think I was numb. I was just rolling with the punches,” said Brittany. “Up until two weeks before she came home, I had my game face on. The one day I broke down was when I had to sign a form for her lumbar puncture (also known as a spinal tap). I was signing basically that she may die. She had to lie still for three days after the procedure.”

And, Brooklynn did.

She has been quite mobile since she has been home, heading to various medical appointments twice a week in the Indianapolis area.

“I’m not fearful because of my faith, and I’m thankful for all the prayers we got from everyone,” Brittany said with Scott agreeing. “God has gotten her through everything and me through everything and He knows I’ve had enough stress and He’s going to take care of it.”