Neonatal Intensive Care

Giving life, receiving thanks in the NICU

When Magda Jimenez was admitted to Parkland for preeclampsia, she knew it was a life and death situation. She was only 29 weeks along in her pregnancy, and preeclampsia is a rapidly progressive condition that is a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death.

“When I was admitted to the hospital, I was really scared and afraid because my son was not full term,” said Magda.

After one month on bedrest, Magda gave birth to Fernando at 33 weeks gestation. He weighed 4 pounds, 14 ounces, and was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for oxygen support and other complex care.

“I was so sad and just wanted him to be well,” said Magda. “As a mom, you don’t expect to see your newborn with all kinds of tubes in his nose and stomach.”

Nurses in the NICU support not only the physical needs of the newborns but also the emotional needs of families.

“It’s an emotional rollercoaster for the new moms who have infants in the NICU, and they are under a tremendous amount of stress,” said Jennifer Hill, director of nursing for Women & Infants Specialty Health at Parkland. “They never expected to leave the hospital without their baby, and they struggle to balance visiting their sick newborn and maintaining life at home.”

As days in the NICU turned into weeks, Magda bonded with Fernando’s caregivers.

“The NICU becomes your home while your baby is here,” said Magda. “All of the caregivers become family to you because they see you crying and they see you happy because of your baby’s progress.”

Nurses caring for newborns in the NICU are passionate about their work.

“Our nurses put every ounce of their being into the care they provide,” said Jennifer, who has worked in the NICU for 21 years. “They have huge hearts, and they love seeing a baby that was really, really sick go home to join their family.”

Fernando went home after one month in the NICU on a beautiful spring day. Today, he is a thriving six month old who is greatly loved by his parents and siblings.

“I pray for everyone at Parkland who took care of my son,” said Magda. “I pray for their hearts to be encouraged in the work they do to help parents going through such a trial. I really thank everyone for being so supportive of us.”

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