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Miracle Baby

Nurturing care and specialized tools give the tiniest babies greater hope

Posted on May 25, 2013 and filed under Videos.

During a routine obstetric visit at 22 weeks, Shannon Evering learned she was in labor, and she was sent to the Labor and Delivery Department at Saint Agnes Hospital. Physicians medically closed her cervix and prescribed bed rest to keep the baby in utero as long as possible.

After two weeks, Evering again went into labor. Camilla was born in May, at 24 weeks gestation. She weighed just 1 lb., 6 oz., and was given a 60-percent chance of survival. As people of faith, Evering and her husband, Carlos, believed that Camilla was destined to be a miracle, and that made her uphill battle “easier to accept.”

Beyond their faith, the Everings are thankful for the care they received at The Bunting Institute for Women and Children, including the Maternity Center for labor and delivery and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which provided care for Camilla for four months. The NICU was renovated in January 2012 and named in honor of gracious donors, the Associated Italian American Charities of Maryland, Inc. The NICU is a State of Maryland Level3B designated Perinatal Center, equipped to care for infants of all gestational ages and birth weights. Following the expansion, the unit provides 18 private beds, including six specifically designated for more critical babies. Advanced technology enables nurses and physicians to meet every medical need of the most premature, tiniest babies like Camilla, according to Cathi Arshad, RN, nurse manager of the NICU.

Among the advanced equipment used to treat babies like Camilla at Saint Agnes are:

  • High tech oscillator ventilator – provides very rapid respiration at very low pressure, which helps to protect her underdeveloped lungs from injury. After three months on the ventilator, Camilla progressed to steroid treatments to help her lungs grow stronger.
  • Intravenous infusion pump – delicately delivers nutrition and medication to the baby until she can feed on her own.
  • Cooling blanket therapy – chilled water flows through plastic tubing into a blanket, cooling her body temperature, helping to reduce fever and improve brain functioning.
  • Giraffe Omnibed – infant bed that converts to a radiator, eliminating the need for her transfer from bed to warmer. The bed helped to keep Camilla’s temperature regulated.

“The technology is amazing,” said Evering. “They recreate the womb experience for the baby. The isolette felt exactly like it is in the womb.” In addition, Camilla was constantly monitored and evaluated to ensure all bodily systems functioned properly including circulation, breathing, vision and reflexes.

Saint Agnes is a member of the Maryland Neonatal Collaborative, a group of Maryland hospitals working together to improve the quality of neonatal care. Among its initiatives are reducing health care-associated infections through the implementation of evidence-based practices; decreasing neonatal mortality, chronic lung disease and length of stay through standardized care in the first hour of life; and improving teamwork and communication through the implementation of team behaviors for caregivers and family members.

NICU team members, many of whom have nurtured the hospital’s tiniest babies for more than 30 years, have implemented initiatives of their own, designed to improve care for their tiny patients, including Camilla (see inset below). These initiatives, combined with nurturing provided by the nurses, made the experience comfortable for Camilla and her parents.

“It was as positive of an experience as it could be,” said Shanna Evering. “The nurses spoiled her, dressed her and put bows in her hair. They became like family for her.” For all of its quality initiatives and advances in maternal/child care, Saint Agnes Hospital recently received the Maryland Perinatal Safety Collaborative Gold Award. Camilla spent four months in the NICU at Saint Agnes, and she went home to Columbia in early September, just after her due date, with a bright future ahead of her. Shanna Evering can attest to that.

“Camilla’s prognosis was good because the staff was so particular and so precise in treating her. She will grow to be a normal, well-adjusted individual because of the care she received at Saint Agnes.”

BY LINDA S. ESTERSON To learn more about the Bunting Health Institute for Women & Children, please click here or call 1-866-690-9355. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Advanced Initiatives Direct Nurturing Care

  • Kangaroo Care – once the baby is stable enough, skin-to-skin contact between baby and mother helps to keep the baby warm.
  • Low Lighting – limiting the exposure to light promotes growth, as research studies have shown.
  • Decreased Sound– creating a womb-like environment, including muffled and limited noise, encourages growth. The renovations worked to decrease sound levels by up to 12 decibels in an effort to promote positive sleep patterns and stable vital signs, including heart and respiration rates. An installed noise monitor helps to improve awareness for families and visitors.
  • Twice Daily Huddles– twice each day, all members of the care team meet to provide an interdisciplinary evaluation of care for each patient. This includes postpartum, nursery, NICU and Birthing Center team members.
  • Mother’s Room – a new private room has been designed and furnished for mothers to express breast milk using state-of-the-art breast pumping systems in a comfortable environment.
  • Early Nutrition Initiative– a new program introduces colostrum to newborns prior to their consumption of milk. Using a syringe, nurses coat the baby’s mouth and tongue with colostrum to promote the start of the digestion process.
  • Banked Breast Milk– Saint Agnes is one of the few hospitals in the area to provide banked breast milk when the mother is unable to supply breast milk to her baby.
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