Close to 380,000 babies are born prematurely in this country every year. To help these tiny infants survive, close to 750 neonatal intensive care units have been established all across the country. Franciscan Health is one of them, a level three facility with 32 private rooms.
Last March, a central Indiana woman went into premature labor. Casey Dabur knew she carried risks
Because her blood pressure had been high. She delivered little Anaya at 26 weeks weighing a little over two and a half pounds.
“She had to be intubated and use oxygen basically until the time she left,” Casey said.
Dr. Veronica Guilfoy is the medical director of the NICU at Franciscan Health. She oversees the staff who cared for Anaya and hundreds if not thousands of other premature babies.
“We have to work as a team,” says Dr. Guilfoy, “to provide the support not just for the baby but families who require a great amount of support to get through the ups and downs while their babies are in the NICU.”
Almost all preemies need breathing support and nutrition support. They need to be kept warm and many times their blood sugar need monitoring.
“When babies are on ventilators, they need a medicine called surfactant,” says Dr. Guilfoy. “Before delivery, mothers are prescribed steroids to help with lung development. I have taken care of a baby that was just about 14.5 ounces, not even a full pound, and the baby made it.”
Breast feeding is encouraged at Franciscan Health’s NICU, according to Dr. Guilfoy.
“We absolutely encourage that and offer as much support as we can,” says Dr. Guilfoy. “They are welcome, and we have pumps provided here at the hospital in the rooms. We have lactation support. We are considered a baby-friendly hospital and we support breast feeding as much as possible.”
Little Anaya Dabur stayed in Franciscan Health’s NICU for close to three months. Once discharged, she did have a retina problem corrected though surgery. But now, close to 14 months after her birth, she is a happy, active baby.
“The staff was there for us,” says Casey Dabur. “They supported us and asked if we needed anything. They always answered our questions and were so thorough.”
Her husband agrees, “the staff kept us up to date on her progress. It was a good experience.”
One in ten babies born in the state of Indiana in 2019 were considered premature.