Bridget Hope arrived on December 15, 2007, weighing in at 1lb, 14 oz. After three fairly normal pregnancies (one was high risk) and three miscarriages, I was 25 weeks along and trying to take it easy. I was lying in bed, sleeping late that Saturday morning while my husband, Rich, was making breakfast for the kids. I rolled over and my water broke. We quickly found care for our kids and rushed to the hospital.
As luck would have it, my obstetrician was in the hospital, visiting his own premature grandchildren in the NICU. The staff responded to our situation quickly, yet smoothly and calmly. My uterus was in danger of rupturing, so the baby was delivered immediately by cesarean section (about 25 minutes after my husband parked the car). Despite the risks, we felt confident that all the doctors and nurses were doing their best, and giving us the absolute best possible care available anywhere. We are so thankful for their skill, care and kindness.
Already having three kids, I thought I was a seasoned Mom. I thought I’d know what to do, but immediately I felt like a first time Mom all over again, except it was scarier, a lot scarier. But we had given Bridget the middle name Hope as a conscious decision of how we would get through this experience and we really tried to focus our emotions on being hopeful for Bridget. We tried letting go of being fearful, especially when we were with her. It helped calm and focus us especially when we were in the NICU.
I had noticed at the hospital that there was a sibling class for children of expectant moms. Having a sibling in the NICU was so hard on my three children, so I spoke to some of the NICU staff about it. I felt as though my kids needed some support on an emotional level, but also needed to have someone other than me talk to them about the importance of frequent hand washing around their new baby sister. I also felt this was going to be an important factor in trying to keep Bridget healthy once she came home. I was amazed at how responsive and positive everyone was to my idea. Despite having one of the best NICUs in the country, all of these important people were interested in what a mom had to say! A few days later, the nurse managers tried out a “NICU sibling lesson” with my two older children, Jack and Catie. They loved it! It helped them understand what was going on with Bridget, to emotionally connect to her AND it made them wash their hands a lot more.
Today, Bridget is almost 20 months old and is getting into absolutely everything, walking, running, climbing, laughing, talking etc. We are constantly grateful for the care and love she received at SBMC and are convinced that it made an enormous difference in helping her become such a wonderful, healthy and happy toddler. Thank you from all of us!
- June Raegner & Rich Stanton
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