Veronica spent 119 days in the NICU at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC. She received the highest level of care by some of the most amazing people in the world. (Yes, I may be biased, but the nurses and doctors were truly fabulous.) As far as 24 weekers go, Veronica did extremely well. She did suffer from an e-coli infection about a week after she was born but multiple antibiotics helped clear it up without any major problems. Fortunately, Veronica avoided some of the more serious complications of extreme prematurity (IVH and NEC) but suffered from RDS (respiratory distress syndrome) for most of her NICU stay. She was only on the ventilator for 12 days, something for which we are incredibly thankful. She was on bubble CPAP for breathing support until shortly before she was discharged. Bubble CPAP is not used at every NICU and I am not sure why. Not only does bubble CPAP assist with breathing, but it actually helps to grow lung tissue. Amazing! So when she finally arrived home, Veronica was on no monitors and no oxygen. She came home primarily bottle feeding (with expressed breastmilk) but by one month post discharge, she was primarily breastfed.
I often ask myself why Veronica fared so well during her NICU stay and I always come up with the following answers:
- bubble CPAP
- the staff at the GW NICU
- steroid shots before she was born
- prayers, prayers and prayers!!
While Veronica was in the NICU, we also had to juggle caring for our five other children as well as our full time jobs. When I look back on those months, I don't know how we did it. Fortunately, we had the support of so many wonderful people - family, friends, coworkers and even acquaintances. The generosity shown to us was nothing short of amazing and we will always be grateful.
Here is a video of Veronica's NICU journey: