Maci, Morgan and Makenna, 4 NICU Graduates

Four years ago, Nicole and Bryan were expecting triplets. Unexpectedly, Nicole’s water broke at a little under 30 weeks while she was walking into her prenatal check-up at UMMC. They went straight to UMMC Labor and Delivery unit.

Nicole spent three days in labor before Makenna, Morgan and Maci were born. As soon as they arrived, they were rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for specialty care.

Maci, the youngest, received care for an orthotic issue, but she was otherwise healthy. She gained weight and was discharged in six weeks.

However, Makenna’s and Morgan’s cases were less straightforward. Makenna contracted a late-onset bacterial infection and immediately received a blood transfusion. She also had an orthotic issue that was treated before she was discharged after eight weeks of care.

Morgan, the middle born, underwent two blood transfusions to increase her oxygen supply and also had surgery to repair a bilateral inguinal hernia. She went home after 10 weeks and the triplets were happily reunited.

Of the nursing staff, Nicole said, “They know your kid. It’s not like they wait for the beeps and buzzers. At the time, overnight stays were not allowed in the NICU. It was hard leaving them, but the staff made me feel confident that the girls were in good hands when we had to go home at night.”

Resources for the Family

Due to the severity of their conditions, all three girls were invited to attend the NICU Follow-Up Program. The triplets were evaluated every six months by program coordinator and developmental specialist Brenda Hussey-Gardner, PhD, MPH.

“We monitored the triplets’ behavior, development and health at each visit to make sure they were healthy, growing well and meeting milestones. The NICU Follow-Up Program is unique in that we educate parents and make a plan together so that they can foster their child’s development at home,” Dr. Hussey-Gardner said.

Nicole and Bryan credit the NICU Follow-Up Program for helping them balance life as new parents. “You don’t get a manual when you go home with children. You’re going to mess up. But I learned that’s okay. Dr. Hussey-Gardner gave me educational materials in a format that worked best for me and connected me to other resources at UMCH (and in our community) as needed,” Nicole said.

The triplets have officially graduated from the NICU Follow-Up Program and are healthier than anyone ever imagined. They have a lot of dreams for the future, but first up on the list is to start their own rock band.

Are you looking for a pediatric specialist? Call the UM Children’s Hospital at 410-328-5887.