Baby is battling birth defect |

Baby is battling birth defect

Joey Crandall
Provided to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Ed McClain, left, and Nikki Warren-McClain keep watch over their son, Kai, at UC Davis medical center. Kai was born with a rare congenital defect called gastroschisis.

Nikki Warren-McClain and her husband, Ed McClain, of South Lake Tahoe wake up every morning not knowing whether their newborn son will even make it to the end of the day.

The couples’ son, Kai, was born Aug. 11 with a rare congenital defect called gastroschisis. Basically, Kai’s abdomen formed with a small cavity in the abdominal wall through which his intestines protruded.

“This was something that they knew was coming,” said family friend Susie Kooyman. “The doctors saw that he was developing like that and they had to induce labor early to keep the amniotic fluid from harming his intestines.”

The McClains have been living in the Ronald McDonald House in Davis for the last month while their son received treatment at the UC Davis medical center.

Already, he has had surgery to close the hole in his abdomen, but he is still in intensive care while his digestive tract continues to develop. He will be there until he is able to properly digest food.

For now, he receives nutrition through a tube into his heart.

“It’s been very tough on them,” Kooyman said. “One day they think he’ll be OK and the next it looks like he might die. I can’t even imagine what that must be like.”

“They have a big family and everyone takes a shift being with the baby, so they have been very fortunate in that respect.”

Warren-McClain runs the Gardnerville Tumbleweeds gymnasium in the Gardnerville Ranchos and lives at Lake Tahoe.

McClain coaches snowboarding for South Tahoe High School and the Heavenly Ski Foundation and has coached soccer at South Tahoe as well.

Shamra Petrosky has stepped in to run the Tumbleweeds gym while the couple is in California with the baby.

Friends and family have set up a bank account to help collect donations that would help the McClains out with the medical bills that have been piling up.

Interested donors can contact El Dorado Bank about the Baby Kai fund.

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