The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Montour County

April 18, 2014

Kin marks newborn's advances through illness

LIBERTY TWP. — Lahlynn Bingaman smiles, is very alert and sleeps in a crib.

She’s been at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia since being born there two months ago.

The baby with Congenital Diaphramatic Hernia has gone from being connected to tubes and wires to breathing on her own.

The baby with dark blue eyes and strawberry dirty blonde hair is moving her hands, her arms and her head.

Her parents Aimee and Kyle Bingaman, of Liberty Township, are waiting for her to be weaned from medications and to tolerate feedings.

“We would like her to be home before Mothers’ Day but it’s day-to-day and hour-to-hour with pulmonary problems. There’s so much that goes on with it,” Aimee said.

“She’s doing wonderful but is still a pretty sick little girl. She’s a blessing. She was here for a reason. She’s our angel — our love,” Aimee said.

While CDH isn’t rare, most people have never heard of it, according to the Bingamans.

In all, 1,600 babies are born with CDH every year in the U.S. with half not surviving, they said. More than 500,000 babies have been born with CDH since 2000.

CDH babies have a left-sided hole in their diaphragm with their intestine, stomach and part of their liver migrating to the chest cavity and compressing the left lung and heart. “Pulmonary hypertension is a killer of these children,” Aimee said.

Geisinger Medical Center doctors detected the condition through an ultrasound during Aimee’s 17th week of pregnancy. They referred her to the Philadelphia hospital where she traveled for weekly prenatal appointments.

Lahlynn was born Feb. 16 via C-section following a Life Flight helicopter trip to Philadelphia. She stopped breathing for four minutes and was brought back to life.

“She was extremely sick the first five days. There were times she almost died,” her mother said.

Doctors placed her on an ecmo machine life support machine in the neonatal intensive care unit.

On Feb. 25 Aimee was able to kiss her daughter on the forehead for the first time.

After what were known as two circuit changes in the machine, Lahlynn experienced setbacks. Doctors found bleeding in her brain when they took her off the machine. She then was placed on an oscillator ventilator for 14 days and weaned to a regular ventilator.

“I got to change a pee diaper for the first time March 22 — that meant the world to me,” Aimee said.

When she was 38 days old, Lahlynn underwent surgery to repair her left side with the back of her diaphragm found to be missing and replaced with a mesh patch. Her small intestine, stomach, spleen and part of her liver were placed in her abdominal cavity.

March 29 was the first time Aimee changed a poop diaper. “I was over the moon,” she said, adding, “There’s a lot of stuff you take for granted until you have a sick child.” The Bingamans also have a son Aidon, 5.

It was April 1 when she held Lahlynn for the first time. “She was still on a ventilator. It was awesome and one of the best days. She started feeding through the tube with my breast milk,” said Aimee.

The first time Lahlynn wore any clothes other than a diaper was April 3.

Her breathing tube was removed April 9 and she started breathing on her own.

Kyle held his daughter for the first time April 12.

This weekend Aidon expects to hold Lahlynn who weighs 7 pounds 9 ounces. “We love her,” said Aidon who gets to see his sister every weekend.

“He touches her. He sings to her. He’s been a good big brother,” Aimee said.

They will celebrate National CDH Awareness Day Saturday at the hospital. They expect to see pink, blue and yellow colored CDH lights on the front of the hospital.

The Bingamans held a T-shirt fundraiser for Team Lahlynn with proceeds to be presented in her name to the Philadelphia hospital. They plan another fundraiser selling CDH awareness bracelets.

After Lahlynn was born, Aimee remained in Philadelphia for two weeks. “I can walk away knowing she’s in an awesome place with people there who are there 100 million percent for those children,” said Aimee, a part-time school van driver for handicapped children. Kyle works at ConAgra Foods.

While there is no main cause for CDH, she said doctors are leaning toward genetics.

Aimee attributes their faith in God and love and support from friends and family as having gotten through this difficult experience.

“This has been the worst and best time of our life,” Aimee said.

“After doctors told us at 17 weeks we did research and tried to prepare ourselves but when it happens, it’s completely different,” she said.

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