Shady Grove NICU delivers lifesaving care to early arrivals

Kate Craine and her husband, Paul, were thrilled to learn that they were pregnant last May. After enduring a miscarriage and almost two years of fertility treatments, the Gaithersburg couple were ecstatic to be welcoming a new baby.

During the first few months of the pregnancy, everything appeared normal. Then, in mid-August, Kate learned she had gestational diabetes. By the end of the month, her doctors put her on modified bed rest.

In October, at 24 weeks, Kate’s water broke. She was admitted to the Birth Center at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center on Oct. 15, 2014. Two days later, Kate and Paul welcomed Amelia Grace Craine into the world—more than 14 weeks early.

Parents Kate and Paul Craine were reassured by James Rost, MD.

Parents Kate and Paul Craine were reassured by
James Rost, MD.

“At Shady Grove Medical Center, we have a well-coordinated team at the ready 24/7 to provide specialized care to high-risk newborns,” explains James Rost, MD, a neonatologist and medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). “This multidisciplinary group provided Amelia state-of-the-art care from minute one.”

Amelia weighed only 1 pound, 9 ounces and was 12.5 inches long, a good size for a baby born at 25 weeks and six days, according to Dr. Rost. Even so, she required significant support in her first days.

“It was terrifying,” Kate remembers. “But when Dr. Rost told us Amelia was ‘feisty,’ I knew she was going to be fine.”

In addition to her high-tech care, Amelia benefited from the NICU’s donor breast milk program, a hallmark of the unit.

“Some moms, like Kate, do everything in their power to breastfeed but are unable to keep up with the baby’s demand for expressed milk,” explains Amy Gilkey, RN, clinical nurse manager of the unit. “The donor program allows us to provide breast milk to all our premature babies, which is proven to decrease mortality rates and other complications.”

Although being NICU parents is physically, mentally and emotionally draining, the Craines were a shining example of the unit’s family-integrated care model, visiting Amelia every day. Together with the nurses, therapists, nutritionists, social workers and doctors, they were an integral part of the team caring for Amelia.

“Our daughter was in the NICU for 73 days,” Paul says. “And the team gave us the hope and support we needed to get through each and every one.”