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Lawrence couple struggles with premature birth scare

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Jason Parker and Bailey Pape with their daughter, Grace, at Overland Park Regional Medical Center

On Thursday of last week, Bailey Pape was sitting on her couch when she realized her water had broken. This would normally be an exciting occasion for an expectant mother — except Pape was nowhere near ready to deliver.

Pape and fiancee Jason Parker, who live in Lawrence, rushed to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and were later transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

Pape has been at the hospital on strict bed rest ever since. Parker, 27, has been traveling back and forth to the facility from his job at Gran-Daddy's Q in Lawrence. Pape, 23, had planned to continue to working at her job as a cashier at Checkers Foods in Lawrence through the end of the year, but that was before her water broke two months early. The couple also have a 2-year-old daughter, Grace, who is been bouncing between the homes of friends and family.

"It's rough. I know she misses our daughter a lot being in the hospital quite a bit — that's the hardest part," Parker said of his fiancee. "And she's starting to get stir crazy."

Doctors had planned to keep the fetus in the womb for a few weeks while his lungs developed, but baby Kyler apparently couldn't wait. He was born Friday morning, clocking in at 3 pounds, 15 ounces and measuring 16.75 inches.

Their friend, Courtney Williamson, found out what happened and started an online fundraising campaign at gofundme.com to help raise money for the young family while they deal with the tough situation. "While already having to worry about the safety and well-being of Baby Kyler, they should not have to worry about how they will keep up financially through this unfortunate timing of events," Williamson wrote in her appeal.

Parker also started a Facebook page, Kindness for Kyler, the name the couple had picked out, to keep friends abreast of what's going on.

Parker and Pape later found out that November is, appropriately enough, Prematurity Awareness Month — and that premie clothes and diapers can be expensive.

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