In honor of Prematurity Awareness Month, Samantha, a mother whose child was in the Magee NICU, shares her family’s story: 

“In 2012 I gave birth to my first son at Magee. We had a wonderful experience and were blessed by a safe and uneventful stay and delivery.

In 2016 we wanted to expand our family again and knew Magee was the best place to receive care. This time around it was not nearly as easy, we suffered 3 miscarriages. The time was exhausting and trying, but all of the doctors and nurses who cared for me were beyond supportive and went out of their way to comfort me while providing care.

Finally, we were successfully pregnant and awaiting the arrival of our second son. At around 29/30 weeks pregnant I began having early contractions and my doctor sent me to the birth center to be monitored. Although I was having contractions, they weren’t actually physically progressing my body so I was to go home and keep an eye on things, returning to the birth center it anything changed. During the next couple weeks, we were in and out of the birth center, each time receiving amazing care from the same resident, Dr. Alison Garrett.

Then at exactly 33 pregnant my water broke. It was scary to know my water broke so early, but I felt oddly calm knowing I was being cared for at Magee. There was no slowing things down to try and wait, my persistent little guy arrived a few short hours later.

The delivery room was crowded with staff to care for both of us during his early arrival, it felt overwhelming and scary during those final few moments before he arrived, but a familiar face arrived for delivery, Dr. Garrett. She knew us and had been along this journey and it felt extra special to have her help us bring Conner into the world.

After delivery Conner was taken to the NICU and Dr. Garrett stayed to care for me post-delivery and we began to comprehend we now had a preemie who wouldn’t be coming home with us in two days.

Having a child in the NICU is something I don’t think you can ever full describe or articulate to someone who hasn’t been through it. You feel this intense internal conflict that you want your baby with you, in your arms, at your home, but you also know they need the extra care and monitoring the NICU staff provide. When I was discharged, I destroyed me when I had to leave the hospital for any period of time, but the fact that Magee had live feed cameras that I could always watch him made it a little easier.

The care we received in the NICU was extraordinary: from the reception staff, to the doctors, and especially the nurses. Each of the nurses (especially in the amazing B pod) treated Conner like my child, like a baby—not just another patient. They talked with us, they supported us, and after a 2 week stay they sent me home with healthy baby—which was quite the blessing considering they prepared us for a 7 week stay. We know many families have a harder, longer stay then we had, but we are truly grateful for the care our entire family received in the NICU.

To honor the staff and support current families we hosted a preemie clothing drive for Conner’s 1st birthday. We collected over 120 preemie outfits, which we delivered on his birthday along with some celebratory cupcakes. We felt so lucky we got to see some of the nurses who cared for him and the amazing Dr. Alison Garrett who delivered him.

One year later we feel grateful for our son and grateful for the care we received at Magee.”

If you would like to donate to the NICU to support patients like Conner, visit www.mageewomens.org/giving.