At only 32 weeks pregnant, Alicia Eldridge woke up one morning with double vision and a high blood pressure reading. She went to the hospital, where her doctor determined she had a life-threatening form of pre-eclampsia that causes kidney and liver failure, and her twins would need to be delivered via c-section.
The babies’ lungs were not developed and they needed to be immediately taken to Kettering Medical Center’s Level IIIB Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Luckily, that was right down the hall. “We were so fortunate that the NICU was in the same hospital and our boys could receive the most advanced treatment and care right there,” Alicia says.
The Eldridges were placed in a multiples suite, which includes a recliner chair located between the two incubator units, allowing parents to hold both babies at the same time while the babies remain hooked up to essential monitors and treatments.
Alicia and Jeremy did not anticipate so many monumental firsts to happen away from home. They gave the boys their first baths, diaper changes, and bottles in the NICU and established a daily care routine with the help of the nursing staff. Neonatologists visited the boys every morning and reported on their treatment plans. “They were very informative and helped manage our fears,” says Alicia. “They not only took care of our boys, they took care of us.”
An emotional return home
By the time both boys came home, the Eldridges had been in the NICU for a month. “We were crying, the nurses were crying, we were all giving each other hugs,” Alicia says.
For Jeremy and Alicia, it was surreal to have their boys be seven weeks old on their due date. But they look back on their time in the NICU with gratitude. “I know it is scary and very hard to be a NICU parent and leave your children there. But they were in wonderful hands. The doctors and nurses cared for our boys as if they were their own.”
At Kettering Health Network, we believe that every birth is special, and we offer additional resources to support you at each step in your unique experience.
The maternity centers at Kettering Medical Center, Southview Medical Center, Soin Medical Center, and Fort Hamilton Hospital, are all equipped with Special Care Nurseries that provide care for babies born after 32 weeks of gestation.
Even the tiniest babies and their parents can stay together inside the Kettering family of hospitals. Kettering Medical Center’s Level IIIB NICU is equipped to care for babies born at any viable gestational age, and even has suites specially designed for multiples.
Join us Sunday, April 22, 2-4 p.m. at Kettering Medical Center for a free, family-friendly event that features all things baby! Click here to sign up now.