Feeling poorly one morning shortly before a regular check-up with her obstetrician, Carly’s doctor advised her to come in to the hospital just to be sure her pregnancy was going according to plan. With premature contractions and the threat of complications, her baby’s heartbeat was slower than expected and Carly was rushed to the Birth Center for an emergency C-Section.
“My husband wasn’t allowed in, and I just remember waking up not pregnant.” she recalls. “You always dream about that ‘mommy moment’ right after your baby is born and I never got to experience that… I missed all of it.”
One out of every ten babies born in the US are preterm, or before 37 weeks of pregnancy. As a new mother to her own little preemie, Carly knows how important it is to trust your Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or, NICU. Her son Randall was born on February 20 at 32 weeks, at only 4 pounds 4 ounces.
Randall spent two weeks in the incubator as a newborn. While Carly couldn’t touch, hold or feed him and share those precious baby-bonding moments every new mom anticipates, Carly says the NICU team eased the way. “The NICU staff, they were amazing. We had the same nurses day in and day out, the same people helping us and that made all the difference,” Carly says.
Here at Valley, our NICU provides round-the-clock care for our littlest patients, offering peace of mind for their families. Our team practices developmental care that includes specialized therapists who help babies acquire crucial skills, so you can rest assured that your baby is in good hands should they need the NICU’s expert care.
“I was lucky enough that I could take off work and stay in the NICU with Randall,” says Carly, “but some other moms had to go to work or go home to their other kids. I just felt so grateful that the nurses never left us feeling like we weren’t cared for. Every question was answered, and they never left us wondering or in the dark.”
Randall is now eight months old and thriving. Carly says he’s a really happy baby, and that if she were to offer wisdom to other preemie moms, it would be to not feel down on yourself when your baby may take a little longer to reach their growth milestones. She says, “It was really hard to adjust knowing that when he was four months old, really he was only two months old since he was born early. I spent so much time reading mommy books and preparing, and just nothing can prepare you for how it feels to know your baby’s growth will be a little different than you expected.”
Looking back at Randall’s unexpected, early start in life and the skilled NICU team care he received, Carly says gratefully, “They were just amazing.”