Avera Medical Minute: NICU offers newborns best environment to thrive

Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 8:04 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

Tyler Roney has the title of Meteorologist at Dakota News Now. He also earned another title recently, Dad. Tyler and his wife, Katie, reflect on the early whirlwind of little Adeline’s arrival. It started with a health concern for Katie.

“My hands were swollen. I had severe headaches, blurry vision, and my blood pressure was really high. And those are all signs of pre-eclampsia,” Katie said.

Katie was admitted, and the decision was made Adeline needed to arrive early, at 35 weeks.

“They were really good about being sure to let me know what was going on to beyond just Katie, so I was really grateful for that,” Tyler said.

While Katie was in labor, the care team described the NICU and what to expect to these first-time parents.

“NICU is scary. Luckily we were a very... I don’t want to say ‘easy case’ but you know, we were lucky. We were very fortunate; whereas, some of her NICU neighbors, they had a long road ahead of them,” Katie said.

Even simple tasks like changing a diaper or feeding can be intimidating.

“When she has tubes coming out of her nose and she has IV’s in her arm and wires hooked up everywhere, that was huge. Like okay we’re doing this, we can do this. Oh, that was a big, big milestone for us,” Katie said.

Mom and Dad were there the majority of the time, but when they stepped out, they, along with family had another way to stay in touch.

"The webcam was on all the time so the Grandmas could see her and different relatives," said Tyler.

"Oh the grandmas loved that webcam," said Katie.

Dr. Maria Barber oversaw the baby’s care.

“NICU stands for neonatal intensive care unit. We basically try to, in many ways mimic the womb,” Dr. Barber said.

The whole family is involved.

“We take care of the parents just as much as we take care of the baby,” Dr. Barber said.

Doctor Barber sees the weight on families.

“They can be there for many weeks, to many months, and being in a hospital setting for that long, is very stress-inducing,” Dr. Barber said.

Each baby has a different path; breathing, body temperature regulation, and eating are all the focus until the day they graduate.

“She graduated the NICU. It’s a huge event and with the nurses and it’s pictures and it’s celebrated,” Dr. Barber said.

Katie and Tyler’s hearts go out to other parents. Recently they saw another couple shopping for baby clothes and realized there was a connection.

“And they had the NICU badge, we’ll recognize that badge anywhere we go. And I just wanted to tell them like, it is okay,” Katie said.

Avera is offering hope for all NICU kids and their families to not give up, knowing those little ones have the opportunity to grow and flourish.

“Stay strong and those nurses and doctors will really keep an eye on your child, and everything will work out in the end ultimately,” Tyler said.

Copyright 2020 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.

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