Olson Family Overcomes Life-threatening Obstacles to Welcome Baby Girl

Ashley Olson and daughter Stella (photo courtesy of the Telegram & Gazette)

Just 15 weeks into her pregnancy, Ashley Olson’s water broke due to a preterm premature rupture of the membranes, or PPROM. “Many couples facing PPROM are advised to terminate the pregnancy,” said Ashley in a recent interview with the Telegram & Gazette, but she and her husband Patrick “refused to give up.” Ashley’s high-risk obstetrician admitted her to the Medical Center at 24 weeks; eight weeks later, baby Stella was born. “She didn’t make a sound at birth. Her lungs were really flat and doctors prepared us to say goodbye to her,” explained Ashley. But thanks to “an army of love” and the lifesaving work of our Children’s Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) staff, Stella is now two weeks old and thriving. Read Stella’s story.

Five-year-old Requests NICU Donations for Her Birthday

When Charlie Audet was born, she spent some time in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) because she wasn’t getting enough oxygen. Fast forward five years, and Charlie decided to give back to the place that helped her get a good start in life. She asked her family and friends to help her raise money for the NICU in lieu of gifts for her fifth birthday. Charlie recently visited the unit and delivered her donation of $460 to Lawrence Rhein, MD, MPH, chief of neonatology and NICU director. “She’s a pretty special girl,” said Charlie’s mom, Jen. “She always hears us talking about the NICU because it was a pretty big deal to us.” In addition to being covered on Worcester News Tonight (watch video below), Charlie’s story appeared in the Telegram & Gazette and on channels 5 and 7.

Show Your Support for Our NICU; Support March for Babies

Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and mother-baby unit staff members are gearing up to participate in the annual March of Dimes March for Babies event. The march will take place on Sunday, April 29 at 3 Eaton Place in Worcester. Show your support by joining or donating to the UMass Memorial Healthy Babies walking team. You can also stop by the team’s bake sale this Friday, March 30, from 8 am to 4 pm in the Memorial 1 conference room (across from the cafeteria on the Memorial Campus). The March of Dimes funds valuable research to help fight birth defects and premature births, and offers much-needed assistance directly to our NICU families to help make difficult situations more manageable.

Kudos to Maternity Nurses; Earn National Certification

Some of our maternity nurses who were recently certified in inpatient obstetrics are: left photo, from left, Michelle Krzcuik, BSN, and Daphne Lambert, BSN; right photo: Erica Klisky, BSN, and Danielle Ferguson, BSN.

Join us in congratulating 26 registered nurses from Labor and Delivery, Postpartum and Neonatal Intensive Care units for earning certification from the National Certification Corporation. The exam involved months of review and study of content specific to their areas of work. The certification demonstrates the nurses’ expertise and dedication toward their practices and continuing education to stay current with latest practices. Some of the certifications our nurses earned include inpatient obstetrics, maternal-newborn nursing and neonatal intensive care.

Our Tiniest Patients Get a Special Visit Direct from the North Pole

santa-nicu-with-family-2016santa-nicu-staff-2016For the third year in a row, our very own Santa and Mrs. Claus – Bob Swensson, NP, hospitalist, and Cheryl Killoran, NICU nurse educator – took a break from their very busy schedules to pay a holiday visit to the staff and families in our NICU. After making a list and checking it twice, the Santa team knew they couldn’t miss a trip to spread some cheer to 36 of our tiniest patients who most definitely made it onto this year’s “nice” list, including newborn  Zara Coleman, pictured right photo, with her parents Jocelyn and Travis Coleman. NICU team members (left photos) Jan Messina, unit secretary, left, and Kelly Grenier, RN, right, pose for a photo with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Our NICU Celebrates 365 Days of Being Infection Free 

ice-cream-socialThe NICU team was treated to an ice cream social to recognize their achievement of a full year without a single central line infection. Team members were invited to stop by throughout the day to grab a couple scoops of their favorite flavor and make their own sundae while toasting one another on a job well done! Congratulations to all! Let’s do it again next year! Pictured, Donna Kasoudas and Patty Wright, celebrate the fruits of their labor with a little chocolate and vanilla reward, complete with a cherry on top!

Five Questions with Dr. Larry Rhein, New NICU Chief

In his free time, Larry Rhein, MD, enjoys taking in a ball game with his wife and children.

In his free time, Larry Rhein, MD, enjoys taking in a ball game with his wife and children.

Not only are our physicians wonderful caregivers, but they’re really interesting, too! We’d like to introduce you to Larry Rhein, MD, our division chief of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Children’s Medical Center. Dedicating himself to our most fragile infants, Dr. Rhein finds himself caring for babies in very critical situations every day, but when it’s time to let loose, Dr. Rhein certainly knows how to have some fun. It may surprise you to learn the Dr. Rhein has experience as a stand-up comedian and is a big fan of karaoke! Learn more about Dr. Rhein in this installment of Five Questions.

 

 

Family Golf Event Raises Funds for NICU Training Doll 

From left, Evelyn, Dan, Erin and Abigail Wright, presented a new simulation doll to our NICU to aid in training efforts at the Children’s Medical Center as well as outlying hospitals.

From left, Evelyn, Dan, Erin and Abigail Wright, presented a new simulation doll to our NICU to aid in training efforts at the Children’s Medical Center as well as outlying hospitals.

The Wright family, former NICU family and longtime supporters, recently donated a simulation doll to the unit. The Wrights generously used money they raised in their Tee Up For Tots Golf Tournament to purchase the doll, which will be used to help enhance our NICU staff’s skill set by using “real world” scenarios with the doll. The doll can be used to provide outreach to outlying hospitals so they can practice situations they may face before our transport team arrives, as well as for hands-on teaching for families before their medically complex child is discharged.

 

PFAC Raises Brushes and Funds for NICU Support Services

NICU PFAC members proudly pose with the signs they created at their recent fundraising event.

NICU PFAC members proudly pose with the signs they created at their recent fundraising event.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Parent and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC) recently hosted a Make and Take Sign Party, raising approximately $1,000. Led by NICU nurse Clare Harper, who volunteered her talents and services as a Life Expressions consultant, attendees used their paint brushes to create inspirational signs. The NICU PFAC provides support services to families throughout the year including dinners, ice cream parties, weekly cropping sessions, holiday events, meet and greets with NICU graduate families and blessing ceremonies. Be sure to like the NICU PFAC on Facebook for updates on future events!

Our Medical Center Walks for Healthy Babies April 24

marchofdimes-logoPlease join us Sunday, April 24 at City Hall Plaza in Worcester for the annual March of Dimes March for Babies event. The NICU staff, in conjunction with many of our NICU graduate families, walks alongside each other in support of this great event to improve the health of babies. For questions please contact Malisa Ianninno. See our team page to join or donate. Registration begins at 8 am and the three mile walk begins at 9 am.