Premature Birth

young boy playing with blocks

Sheri shares the story of her son Aidan’s birth, and how her previous experience with the doctors and staff at Women & Babies Hospital provided comfort during Aidan’s time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

About Our Family

I was born in Iowa and made my way to Lancaster 11 years ago with my husband, Andy.  Aidan, my fourth child, is five years old. He was born 10 weeks early and spent a little over a month in the NICU at Women & Babies.

We also have 12-year-old twins, Hannah and Drew, who like many twins were born early at 28 weeks, and our daughter, Katelyn, is 8 and was also premature.

Aidan's Birth

I knew there could be issues because of my history of early deliveries and my age. Aidan was actually born the day before my 38th birthday. He was a wonderful birthday present. I have what is called a bicornuate uterus, (heart-shaped uterus) which makes carrying a pregnancy to full-term difficult. My doctor at Women & Babies Hospital was wonderful. I wasn’t on strict bed rest, which was nice, since I had three other children to care for.

Because of my condition, my doctor had me get steroid shots at about 28 weeks to help the baby’s lungs develop, and that really made a world of difference when Aidan was born two weeks later. It happened in the middle of the night. At 3:00 in the morning my water broke, and my neighbor was “on call” to look after our kids. When my husband and I got to the hospital, I was very calm, because you get to know everyone at Women & Babies in the weeks before—it’s like coming home to a family. Then at about 8:30 in the morning, my perinatologist did an ultrasound and said, “We’re gonna make you a mom again today.” The whole team was amazing. And soon I was holding my 4 pound 1 ounce baby boy.

Honoring Our Doctor

The doctor who delivered Aidan also delivered my third child, Katelyn, so he was totally familiar with my history. He just said, “You know, no matter what, I’ll be there. Even if I’m not on call, I’ll be there”—and he was, and it was very comforting. I can’t say enough about his care, his manner, and his ability to listen and make the right decisions. And he always took his time. I never felt rushed in his office beforehand.

The funny thing is that Aidan was 2½ days old before we came up with his name. My husband was coming for the special dinner that Women & Babies provides for new parents and on his way he dropped the older kids off at my best friend’s house. When he pulled up, she came out with a baby name book and said, “Don’t come back until you have a name picked out” so during our special dinner we decided on the name—Aidan John.

In fact, his middle name was chosen in honor of Dr. John Eichenlaub. I remember telling Dr. Eichenlaub the baby’s name was Aidan John and he was so excited. That was a great moment.

Life in the NICU and Beyond

I had total confidence in the staff at Women & Babies Hospital and everything that was there for Aidan during and after his stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I truly had a sense of comfort, even with Aidan in the NICU for over a month.

Since my third child had also been in the NICU at Women & Babies, I had a high comfort level knowing that they could handle any situation. That was a huge relief with three other children to look after. Then down the road, Aidan had speech therapy and physical therapy.

When you have a baby that has been in the NICU, Women & Babies makes recommendations on evaluations to ensure your child is reaching developmental milestones. It was only for a few months, but it was reassuring that this early intervention was part of the follow up, because I definitely wanted him checked and evaluated. They really dot all the i’s and cross the t’s at Women & Babies.

A Great Experience at Women & Babies

My doctors, the nurses, the NICU staff—they were all just so compassionate and you really get to know everyone. The social workers are top notch—they really make an effort to get to know the parents.

Also, the soothing nature in the NICU was wonderful. I even remember them playing Kenny Loggins’ House at Pooh Corner. I loved that peaceful feeling in there, and the staff will do anything for you. It’s all about mom and baby—they go above and beyond, they just feel for you. And I really mean that from my heart, I really do. The whole experience was handled with TLC.

Aidan. Happy, Healthy and Ticklish

Today Aidan is a very happy, very active, smiling five year old. He’s also really ticklish. He loves basketball. He always has a ball in his hands. We joke that we need to take his batteries out because he’s non-stop. You’ll find him running around the house, bouncing, rolling, and doing cartwheels in the family room.

It’s hard to believe that he was ten weeks premature—our little five year old now.

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