NICU PARENT EXPERIENCE: Diana Keating

I will never forget May 18th, 2021. The night before, I was feeling like I had no energy, no appetite, I had this terrible pain in my upper abdomen so bad that it made it hard to breathe. My husband ended up taking me to the emergency room around 10:30 pm. The ER ruled out that this pain was not heart related so I sat in the emergency room for over an hour in excruciating pain. Once they rolled my wheelchair into a room, an ER doctor suggested that I needed to go up to Labor and Delivery. I had a million things going through my head as they wheeled me to L&D. The surgeon walks into the room and says “Well, looks like you are about to meet your baby.”  Panic started to kick in because I had just turned 32 weeks. I was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome and need to have an emergency c-section. Within an hour, I delivered my daughter, Ashton, weighing 3 lbs 15 oz. The next several days were extremely difficult for our family. My recovery was difficult and painful. I was not able to see Ashton for 2 days due to my health condition. Ashton spent 7 weeks and 4 days in the NICU at Baptist.  Ashton was on a vent and went through extensive care during the first week. As her health got better, she was moved to a C-pap bubble for several weeks. Her poor little lungs took a while to develop to be able to breathe on her own. This entire journey had me on an emotional rollercoaster. I was mentally and physically drained every day. All I wanted was for Ashton to get better so that she could come home. Finally, on July 10th, she made her big exit from the NICU and was able to come home. 
On a positive note, I was so thankful for Nurse Laura and Nurse Lisa who took such good care of Ashton while in the NICU. The NICU staff are truly special people. They made Ashton’s stay in the NICU that much better. Ashton was a little star in the NICU. Everyone loved coming to spend time with my little one. Her smile was infectious and, man, her hair was the biggest topic there. It looked like she had fresh highlights on her full head of hair. I am so grateful that Ashton is health and home. 

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