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.

Register for 5K Run to Benefit Our NICU

Registration is now open for the TDD 5K – an event established by Don and Elaine Vescio following the loss of their newborn triplet sons, Tyrus, Dante and Daniel, in 2005. The goal of the 5K is to remember all the babies who left the world too soon while raising funds for our Children’s Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The 2019 5K will take place Sunday, March 31, leaving from Worcester State University. Registration begins at 8 am, with the 5K starting at 10 am and the children’s fun run beginning at 11:30 am. Visit the website to register, donate or learn more.

DAISY Award Recipient There ‘During the Hardest Times’

Pictured from left: Christine Buckley, RN, associate chief nursing officer; Linda Roche, RN, clinical coordinator; Cheri Nystedt, RN; Wanda McNiff, RN; Cheryl Killoran, RN, nurse educator; Michelle Tivnan, RN; Nancy Beaudoin, RN; Paula Pigeon, RN; Martine Wright, RN; Sherry Rano, RN; Ellen Rushlow, RN; Kacie McGinnis, RN; and Donna Mann, RN, nurse manager.  Right photo: Paulette Seymour-Route, RN, interim chief nursing officer, left, and Nancy Beaudoin, RN

Congratulations to Nancy Beaudoin, RN, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), who was presented with the DAISY Award at a special celebration held earlier this week. Nancy was nominated by the family of a newborn she cared for over the course of several weeks in the NICU. While attending the DAISY celebration, the family shared their story and thanked Nancy and all the NICU caregivers for the care their baby received. “Nancy was so caring, treating our daughter as one of her own and always bringing smiles to our faces even during the hardest times,” they said. “She reminded us to be hopeful and patient with our little one. Nancy and all the nurses gave us the chance we needed to become a family.” The DAISY award rewards and celebrates the extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care nurses provide every day. Nominate a nurse today.

NICU Described as a ‘Haven for High-risk Infants’

NICU baby

A picture speaks a thousand words. Worcester Magazine recently featured our NICU in a three-part series. (Photo courtesy of Worcester Magazine)

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is nationally renowned and has a reputation for involving families in their babies’ care. Just ask the parents interviewed for this three-part Worcester Magazine feature titled, “Life in the NICU: UMass Memorial a Haven for High-risk Infants.” The only Level 3 NICU in Central Massachusetts, our caregivers follows a finely-honed routine that involves a dedicated team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and respiratory therapists who takes over the care of any baby determined to be in distress. The care team also includes physician assistants, nutritionists, social workers, pharmacists, cuddlers and others. Ellen Delpapa, MD, chief of maternal-fetal medicine, offered perhaps the highest – and simplest – praise for the NICU team, saying, “We feel privileged to practice with them.” Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of the feature.

Group Sets Sewing Goal for Our NICU Babies’ Comfort

Pictured from left are Marilyn Sinibaldi, Dianna Peterson, sewing group members; Alice Miller, NICU team member; and Sue Smith, librarian of Beaman Memorial Library.

Special thanks go out to a group of sewers and quilters from West Boylston who create and donate burp cloths and quilts for babies in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The group, which meets Wednesday nights at the Beaman Library, has made about a dozen quilts to date and has a goal of making “a couple hundred” burp cloths for the NICU in time for the holidays, but they could use help. They are in need of materials including clean, soft cotton, non-pill flannel or jersey materials; batting for the quilts; and, of course more sewers and quilters! For more information, read the article in the Telegram & Gazette, email Sue Smith at the library or call 508-835-3711.

Innovative Approach to Data Collection Improves NICU Outcomes

Dr. Rhein

Recognizing that their process for data collection was less efficient and potentially delaying their ability to make timely decisions when caring for critically ill infants, Lawrence Rhein, MD, chief of neonatology, gathered a work group of clinical and technical experts. The team identified opportunities for improvement; develop solutions to streamline the way data was collected; cut down on the time it took to transfer data; and eliminate manual extraction in order to reduce the risk of error. The team was recently recognized for their innovative approach to solving this issue by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in a recent blog post. Read article.

‘Miracle’ Micro-preemie Born in Our NICU Defies All Odds

Miracle baby Daniel Gagnon (Photo courtesy of the Telegram & Gazette).

When Ashley Gagnon began experiencing blurry vision, loss of smell and fainting spells at 20 weeks pregnant, she became very concerned. She enlisted the help of Heidi Leftwich, DO, ob/gyn, maternal and fetal medicine, at our Medical Center who quickly discovered that Ashley’s baby had stopped growing at 19 weeks gestation and diagnosed Ashely with pre-eclampsia, which can be fatal to both mom and baby. When the baby went into distress at 27 weeks, Dr. Leftwich, along with our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) team successfully delivered a 14-ounce, 10.8-inch “miracle” baby boy, Daniel, the second smallest micro-preemie born in our NICU. Read about Daniel’s story of survival in today’s Telegram & Gazette.

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.

Women’s Health Series: Take a Virtual Maternity Center Tour

Delivering a baby may not be “simple,” but deciding where to deliver should be! In response to an increasing demand for tours of our Maternity Center, we now offer an online tour of the Medical Center’s Mother-Baby Unit and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). In addition to providing parents-to-be with a snapshot of both units, the video includes a brief overview of what to expect when delivery time comes from Julia Johnson, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology, Larry Rhein, MD, chief of the NICU, and fellow parents who have experienced first-hand what it’s like to deliver here. Watch the tour and check out our other resources by visiting Simply Women. #SimplyWomen

NICU Team Celebrates Literacy Awareness Month

Staff from the NICU kicked off Literacy Awareness Month by dressing up in character costumes from favorite Dr. Seuss and Curious George books!

Last week, the Children’s Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) kicked off Literacy Awareness Month with the launch of our Reach Out & Read program. Research shows that reading to babies in the NICU has many benefits, from early language development, to school readiness, to increased comfort, bonding and emotional competence. During the event, siblings were treated to a story hour and crafts, and families were given a book to read to their babies during their NICU stays. Check out our Facebook post for more details and photos from this fun event.