Archer : Deep Breath

June is Lung Disease Awareness Month

By Allyson Mattingly
Mommy to Archer
Born May 2021
BPD (Bronchopulmonary dysplasia) – chronic lung disease

Overall, my pregnancy with Archer was normal. At my 20-week anatomy scan they thought something was wrong with his heart. So, from then on I had an ultrasound at every appointment. At 24 weeks, they told me I wasn’t going to have a proportional baby. He was measuring in the 20th percentile and his arms and legs were extremely short with a large head and belly. The last 4 weeks of pregnancy I was really sick and he ended up barely growing. At my 28 week appointment, he was barely moving and was measuring in less than one percentile. I was told I would have to go to St. Louis to have him so he could get specialized care.

It’s a 2-hour drive from our house to the hospital, but as soon as I arrived my blood pressure spiked and I had an emergency C-section late that night – Archie was born at just 28 weeks. For the first two weeks of his life, Archer was on an oscillator; they weaned him off at two weeks, and then he was on Cpap for four months. About a month into his NICU stay he was diagnosed with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, chronic lung disease. Archer has a lot of scarring to his lungs but with time and growth his lungs will get stronger.

My hopes for Archie were to get off of any kind of support and to gain weight. In the beginning, I was just so ready to get him home. I didn’t think about life after the NICU. Archer got off of oxygen at 6 months old. Things changed a lot when he ended up getting off steroids in January 2022 (at 8 months old). He started to meet more milestones, he got more energy, and started to gain weight.

Archer had had one of the best nurses in the NICU, and she mentioned she took pictures for On Angels’ Wings. So, I filled out the form and requested her. We ended up taking the pictures a few hours before Archer was discharged, sent home on oxygen. I’ll forever cherish the pictures and whole experience with On Angels Wings. Such a special moment was captured for our family.

Archie is 2 years old now and thriving! He receives occupational and physical therapy a few times a week to help him catch up (common for a preemie). He talks/babbles constantly and finally started walking at 20 months. He’s been off of oxygen for a year and a half now!

Share This