Pregnancy complications are never in the plan. But if they do crop up, it helps to know you have a team of experts on your side. Learn more about NCH's Level III perinatal designation here.
At 33 weeks, Teya Drews was nearing the finish line of an easy pregnancy. In fact, she had just worked a routine 12-hour shift in the Mother/Baby unit at Northwest Community Hospital.
The next thing she knew, she had become a patient.
Teya awoke to heavy bleeding and yelled to her husband, "Get up, get the kids, we're going to the hospital!" They passed three other hospitals en route, but Teya knew that with NCH's Level III perinatal designation, she and her baby would be in the most capable hands.
Doctors determined that Teya's placenta was tearing, which required an emergency cesarean-section. Born at 4 pounds, 7 ounces, Logan Drews was placed on a ventilator and moved to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
No mom-to-be ever hopes for pregnancy complications. But if an emergency does strike, it's comforting to know that NCH's Level III perinatal designation means that mom and baby will receive the highest level of care—together. Since premature or seriously ill newborns may have to stay in the hospital for weeks, the convenience of being close to home is important.
For Teya, deciding to go to NCH was an easy decision. In addition to caring for premature and seriously ill infants, the hospital can also readmit newborns to its Level III NICU for specialized intensive care. And, with a team of expert maternal fetal medicine physicians and neonatologists from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago on staff, Teya knew both she and her baby would receive the best care.
All of these Level III features are key because, prior to the designation, mothers who were delivering earlier than 30 weeks into their pregnancies had to be transferred to a Level III perinatal facility, as did their babies. Now, mothers and the tiniest infants can receive that same high level of care close to home at NCH.
"If a mom has her baby at NCH, she can be assured we have the highest designation available in the state," says Cindy Hartwig, MS, RN, director of Women's & Children's Services at NCH. "That means we can take care of high-risk mothers and their infants at any gestational age, including infants as small as 2 pounds or less—right here, right in their own community."
As part of the Level III perinatal designation, NCH offers:
NCH's 16-bed state-of-the-art NICU was designed to provide a quiet, safe, nurturing environment for both the infant and parents. It features all-private rooms and includes a sleeping area for the parents, among other comforts of home. This family-centered focus supports parent involvement and education so new parents are comfortable caring for their baby when they go home.
"Evidence shows that premature or seriously ill newborns respond better to a dark, quiet environment," says Joel Barry Fisher, MD, director of the NICU at NCH. "Noise level is naturally decreased with private rooms, plus we can dim the lights and this helps to keep the babies as calm as possible."
Back at work since August, Teya knows firsthand the ups and downs of being a "NICU mom."
"NICU moms are pretty special to me. I understand what they're going through," she says.
As for Logan? In August, he weighed in at 11 pounds. He smiles, kicks and interacts with his siblings. Teya credits the highly trained neonatal physicians, nurses, therapists and pharmacists who cared for her son.
"I knew the NICU staff as co-workers and I was confident in the level of care they were providing," Teya says. Yet, she says, she was still surprised that the experience turned out to be even better than she imagined. "If it had to happen, Logan and I were in the best place we could be."
To read other patient success stories, click here.
Dr. Joel B. Fisher is board-certified in pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine, and is on staff at NCH. For a list of neonatologists and perinatologists on staff at NCH, click here, or call HealthConnection at 847.618.4YOU (4968).