Women’s Hospital’s NICU Feels Like Family
Jessica and Chris Read had no idea their son, Banks, would be born prematurely and require neonatal intensive unit (NICU) care at Women’s Hospital. The Reads now count those 84 days as one of life’s blessings
The NICU support system was a showcase for the expertise and compassionate care offered by the Women’s Hospital staff. “Our NICU experience was overwhelmingly positive,” reflected Jessica Read. “We had such tremendous support that I cried when we had to leave.”
“My husband and I feel that parents of NICU babies don’t always thank doctors, nurses and other staff members enough,” commented Read. “Some may take them for granted. We think of them as family.” In particular, the Reads have continued to keep in touch with nurses Sue Millican, Kayti Hochstetler, Ali Clem and Liz Hoeler who truly made a difference to them, especially during the most challenging times.
While Banks’ arrival 11 weeks early was unexpected, Jessica Read now wonders how she would have been able to have a full-term baby and leave Women’s Hospital so soon after delivery. The NICU staff taught her how to care for her son. She learned to bathe him, bottle feed him and look for signs of distress. As Read recalled, “Even our doctor’s office says we are very knowledgeable parents.”
In addition to offering hands-on, practical support, Clinical Social Worker Colleen Shaw made sure they were aware of resources – everything from area programs to Social Security beneifts. Shaw and other NICU staff provided emotional support as well.
“Nurse Kayti sat and talked with me for 30 minutes when I had a panic attack. That she personally cared so much really made a difference in my life,” recalled Jessica Read.
As the Read family prepared to leave Women’s Hospital, staff ensured they left the NICU ready to meet the challenges a NICU infant can bring. They were told Banks may not sleep as much or meet milestones as early.
Banks is now seven months old and is thriving. The Read family thinks of their NICU team as extended family and still considers those 84 days one of life’s blessings, As Jessica put it,, “Everyone should have what we experienced in the NICU, even if it’s for a day.”