By Joanna and Andrew
Parents of Former NICU Patient
Editor’s Note: Joanna and Andrew welcomed their son Michael into the world on July 21, 2009, after only 25 weeks gestation. He was 12 inches long and weighed only one pound, 10 ounces. At three weeks old, Michael was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a condition primarily seen in premature infants that causes parts of the bowel tissue to die. After having two children born full-term and having not experienced any problems during this pregnancy, Joanna and Andrew were not prepared for the roller coaster ride they were about to embark on. Read their story below.
Michael was born at a community hospital in Baltimore on July 21, 2009. Despite being born after only 25 weeks gestation, he was progressing very well and even breathing on his own during the first few weeks of his life. However, when we got the call early in the morning that Michael had been diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and was very sick after doing so well the first few weeks, we were devastated. When we got to his isolet, there were so many machines and IVs hooked to him. He was no longer a healthy pink; he was grey.
The doctors at the community hospital started to treat him for NEC as best as they could, but he wasn’t improving as well as they thought he should. He would improve for a few hours then begin regressing again. His body started to shut down; his urine output was down to almost nothing.
Drs. Roger Voight and James Moore were called from the University of Maryland Medical Center. They came to the community hospital and examined him and started to treat him. After several days of undergoing treatment from Drs. Voigt and Moore, Michael was stable enough to be transferred to the NICU at UMMC.
Many emotions were going through our minds as the UMMC transportation team transported Michael from the community hospital to UMMC. Shortly after Michael arrived in the NICU at UMMC, he was taken into surgery. Dr. Moore performed the surgery that removed part of Michael’s intestines and colon.
Michael spent a total of 115 days in the NICU, with about 95 of those days being spent at UMMC. Dr. Moore and his staff, along with the many other doctors and nurses in the NICU, were very attentive to Michael and comforted us during this difficult time. The nurses gave us regular updates on his condition and were always available to answer any questions that we had. Thankfully, Michael recovered from NEC, as well as several other obstacles he ran into along the way. He is now a healthy, active almost 2-year-old.
Michael may not have lived if it wasn’t for the doctors, nurses, staff and technology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Although we never dreamed of needing this type of care for one of our children, we were very grateful that it was available when we needed it most.
It is very important to support the NICU at UMMC to ensure that infants like Michael, who otherwise might not have a chance at life, can grow up to lead healthy, happy lives. It is because of the care that Michael received at the NICU that we hosted a charity remote control airplane event — the Maryland Electric Day Spectacular — to benefit the NICU at UMMC. The event was held on June 4, 2011 at the Konterra Model Air Park in Laurel, MD. It was a great event — the first of what we hope will become an annual event — and lasted late into the evening with 32 pilots from five different states and the District of Columbia attending. We raised $1,179, and all proceeds benefitted the NICU at the UMMC.