VERSAILLES — Little Kyndal Wynk has been through so much in her short life, but despite all the hurdles she has had to overcome, she is still a bright, smiling baby girl.
Now 9 months old, Kendal, daughter of Cody and Jaci Wynk of Versailles and sister to 4-year-old Bayley, was diagnosed at childbirth with the disorder, VACTERL Association, which is a disorder that affects many body systems. VACTERL stands for vertebral defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, tracheo-esophageal fistula, renal anomalies, and limb abnormalities.
People diagnosed with VACTERL Association typically have at least three of these characteristic features, and Kyndal was born with multiple conditions of the asociation and has undergone nine surgeries.
This rare condition affects approximately one in 10,000 to 40,000 births.
It was known through medical testing before Kyndal’s birth on June 29, 2016, that there were some issues.
“We found out last February at my four-month ultrasound,” Jaci said. “They called us back. They thought there was a limb abnormality and couldn’t find a kidney. There was only one artery and one ventricle on the umbilical cord. It took a really long time. We knew something was wrong, and a couple of days after the ultrasound, they sent us to Miami Valley Hospital. The ultrasound took a couple of hours by high-risk doctors. They thought she had VACTERL and confirmed it.”
Jaci said she kept going to Miami Valley for all of her appointments and pre-natal visits and had level 2 ultrasounds done every week. Then, the family was sent to Children’s Hospital in Dayton for an echocardiogram.
“They couldn’t tell all of the severity because she was still in the womb,” Cody said.
“We were on pins and needles the whole time I was pregnant,” Jaci added.
At 3 a.m. the day of her delivery, Jaci was in a lot of pain, and arrived at Miami Valley Hospital by 4. Her water broke at 4:05 with Kyndal was born at 4:49. Triage doctors delivered the baby.
“It was a very easy labor,” recalled Jaci. “NICU was even there in two or three minutes. I got to hold her for two or three minutes before they transported her with a ventilator to Children’s.”
Jaci was in the hospital for 10 hours before checking herself out.
“When I got to Children’s, the doctor yelled at me for being there,” she said.
They were informed that Kyndal’s aorta was routed the wrong way. She had no neck because of the vertebra abnormality, was missing a tailbone and nerve endings and that the radius was missing from her left arm.
“They didn’t know if she would ever be able to talk or control her bowel movements,” Jaci said.
Her first surgery took place two days after her birth. They cut the esophagus from the windpipe and trachea and stretched the esophagus to where it was supposed to be.
The initial surgery was painful for the baby.
“They had to collapse her lung and there was a tube coming out of her back,” Jaci said.
Five of Kyndal’s nine surgeries have been for dilations of the esophagus, and she has to go on the ventilator for those procedures.
Kyndal’s last surgery was on Feb. 27 to correct her tethered spinal cord.
“They snipped the band around her spinal cord to help her commute more,” said Jaci, whose family was advised not to read everything about the disease because each child is different.
However, Jaci belongs to a group on Facebook which helps her deal with their situation.
“With all of her problems, we feel Kyndal’s very normal,” Jaci said. “We had to feed her slow at first because of the dilations.”
If Kyndal, who has also undergone anal surgery, has a fever above 101, the Wynks have to take her to the hospital right away.
“My parents don’t live so far away, if we need to rush Kyndal to the hospital and need someone to care for Bayley,” Jaci said.
When she was born, Kyndal weighed 5 pounds 12 ounces and was 18 3/4 inches long. She was still considered a full-term baby, even though Jaci’s due date was July 6.
Today, Kyndal weighs 13 pounds.
The Wynks would like to have more children some day, but said if they can’t, they may adopt, Cody said.
“This could be genetic but they are not really able to tell,” said Cody.
Jaci, who is from Versailles, and Cody were married in August 2015. He is from Maria Stein. He does construction work for his family in Chickasaw. That’s where they were living when first daughter Bayley was born.
She is a third-grade teacher at Ansonia Elementary School.
“Work and juggling all of this is not easy,” she said.
“I work for my parents and they’re lenient,” Cody replied.
When Jaci works, Kyndal goes to Brilliant Beginnings in Versailles. There, she can be with a nutritionist and speech therapist.
“Help Me Grow comes here to our house,” Jaci said. “We will start taking her to Western Ohio Therapy. She wears a helmet 23 hours a day.”
Not only do they have family they can depend on to help, the Wynks like their community.
“Fortunately where we live, Kaup Pharmacy is nearby, and they are always helpful,” said Jaci, whose with her family attends St. Denis Catholic Church in town.
The infant is the granddaughter of Dave and Lucy Wynk of Chickasaw and Jeff and Georganne Barga of Versailles; and great-granddaughter of Janice Barga of Versailles and Jean Wink of St. Sebastian.
“Kyndal has been an inspiration to all who know her as she overcomes each obstacle one at a time,” said Barga. “Each obstacle comes with more cost and more time off work for her parents, and therefore, we are hosting a benefit to help raise money for these costs and bring VACTERL Association awareness to our community. A quarter auction will be held on May 6 at the VFW on North Ohio Street in Greenville. Doors will open at 1 p.m and the auction will begin at 2 p.m. We would greatly appreciate any donations that you would be willing to give in order to make this benefit successful.”