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Myron’s Story: Highly Specialized Care Brings Comfort and Guidance Through an Unexpected Diagnosis

Myron’s Story: Highly Specialized Care Brings Comfort and Guidance Through an Unexpected Diagnosis

Annaleigh Nees and her husband were overjoyed when they learned they would be welcoming their seventh child into their already large and loving family. Having experienced smooth pregnancies in the past, however, Annaleigh was taken aback when her routine 33-week check-up revealed low amniotic fluid, a condition known as oligohydramnios. Characterized by insufficient amniotic fluid for the baby's gestational age, oligohydramnios can affect a baby’s development and potentially lead to serious complications during labor and delivery.

Annaleigh was admitted to her local hospital and monitored that evening to ensure her baby was OK despite the low levels. The next morning, however, when the doctors checked her fluid again, it measured even lower.

“They told me that I would need to have an emergency C-section that day,” Annaleigh recalled. “My baby was showing signs of distress, and they determined the safest route for him was to be delivered as soon as possible.”

And so, on June 1, 2023, Myron Nees was born a little over six weeks early.

“They had a team of specialists standing by and they rushed him off to the NICU,” Annaleigh said. “Besides his prematurity, the doctors didn’t really know what was going on, but something was wrong.”

Because Myron was premature and exhibited a number of other symptoms, his doctors at the local hospital recommended he be transferred to Children’s Hospital of New Orleans for highly specialized care. Children’s Hospital of New Orleans has a Level IV NICU, which means it offers the most advanced treatment options in the state of Louisiana for babies born prematurely or who have complications after birth. The unit has 36 critical care beds for newborns and provides care for sick infants with problems resulting from prematurity, birth defects or acquired conditions. In addition, their multidisciplinary team of experts are equipped to perform highly specialized evaluations to determine a baby’s condition or illness, as well as the best course of evidence-based treatment.

“He wasn’t even 24 hours old before he got on the helicopter and was airlifted to Children’s Hospital,” Annaleigh said.

At Children’s Hospital New Orleans, Myron was placed under the care of the NICU team, including neonatologists Dr. Michelle Knecht, Dr. Julie Gallois, and Dr. Jessica Patrick-Esteve.

Annaleigh recalled the first week being a rollercoaster of emotions, with more unknowns than answers. 

“The doctors performed every test you could imagine, and by the time he was one week old, they discovered that Myron had Down syndrome,” Annaleigh said.

Down syndrome, a genetic condition resulting from an extra copy of chromosome 21, added complexity to Myron's medical journey. As a premature baby, he faced additional challenges, including complications with blood sugar regulation.

“This was all so new to us—we’d never had any complications with our six children before him,” Annaleigh said. “We never had a child in the NICU or hospitalized, so we had no idea what to expect. Thankfully, the team at Children’s Hospital New Orleans was amazing and guided us throughout Myron’s treatment.”

In total, Myron spent two and half months in the NICU, during which time the medical team supported his growth and provided breathing support, addressed feeding issues, stabilized his blood sugar, and conducted numerous tests. Among their findings was an atrial septal defect (ASD), which is a small hole in the wall that divides the upper chambers of the heart. ASDs may require surgery or medication to close, and Myron’s is being monitored by cardiologists at Children’s Hospital New Orleans to determine the best course of action.

Finally, on August 16, 2023, Myron was discharged home to be with his older brothers and sisters.

“He’s home and he’s doing great,” Annaleigh said. “We were so happy with the care we received at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, and we still go there for follow-up appointments.”

Myron continues to receive comprehensive care within the LCMC Health and Children’s Hospital New Orleans system, regularly visiting the Down Syndrome Clinic, his cardiologist, ENT specialists, and physical and occupational therapists. This collaborative approach among multiple specialists within the same location supports seamless communication, comprehensive assessments, and coordinated interventions for premature babies with medical complexities.

“Collaboration among multiple specialists within the same location is so important when it comes to providing comprehensive care,” Dr. Knecht said. “Infants with genetic diagnoses will often have a number of medical complexities, and a multidisciplinary approach allows our specialists to combine their expertise and foster an environment where collective knowledge enhances patient outcomes and cultivates patient-centered care.”

To learn more about the Level IV NICU at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, visit: