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Published on May 24, 2013

Tiffany, Aaron, Alexis, and Dylan Schetter & The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Tiffany, Aaron, Alexis, and Dylan Schetter
Patients: Tiffany, Aaron, Alexis, and Dylan Schetter, Germantown, MD

Location: Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center

Service: Neontal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Doctor: James Rost, MD

Thirty-three-year-old Tiffany Schetter of Germantown was just 20 weeks into her pregnancy when she learned that one of her unborn twins had only a small chance of survival.

Tiffany and her husband, Aaron, were told their daughter was not getting adequate blood flow. Their doctor connected them with Jim Rost, MD, medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, to learn about the care their babies would receive when they arrived.

"The NICU is staffed around the clock with board-certified neonatologists; neonatal nurses; educators; respiratory therapists; occupational, physical and speech therapists; and lactation consultants," Dr. Rost says. "They are dedicated to providing the highest level of care in a warm, caring and familyfriendly environment."

On August 22, 2012, at 27 weeks, Tiffany’s daughter's heartbeat decelerated and physicians performed an emergency cesarean section.

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I think it was around week 20 that we found out one of the twins was a little bit smaller than the other one, and they weren't getting enough blood flow, so we knew from the very beginning that we are likely going to have to deliver them early and they would be premature. But the most amazing thing was when they started the C section we heard her cry, and we were told that likely she wouldn't be able to cry when she was born, but I heard her cry and I heard him cry so that was the best moment.

The NICU at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is unique because of our people, because they care. They care about the baby. They care about the family. They care about each other, and they also care very much about outcomes.

Dylan we were able to stop and get a picture of, he was about twice Alexis’ size so things went little smoother with the delivery, so they came out we were able to get a picture of him, he came and was able to say hi, gave him a kiss, then they took him off. So we had a little bit of time there, but with Alexis things were already complicated from the start, and by the time I saw her she was already in the incubator on the way by. They tell you when you get in the NICU like a hundred times that it's a roller coaster, and you're like okay I get it, it’s a roller coaster there’s a lot of ups and downs, but until you really live it you're not really prepared for exactly how many – there’s more downs than ups it felt like for us with Alexis, at least for the first few months, but no matter how good the day is the next day is brand new and you don't know what's coming. There's so many things that she still had to accomplish and develop, and it could go on, and a lot of them did. We had as good as an experience as you can have been in the NICU. I think we achieved that there, we felt comfortable in their care. They’re warm, caring people there that will definitely go beyond just being medical staff to family and friends. We're very fortunate to have the Shady Grove NICU to be so close to home.

Working with these babies is the most amazing thing ever. You become part of the family with the parents and the baby caring for them. One of the challenges that we have as health care providers for some the sickest babies is to educate families on what to do when they get home. That starts from the very first day of their care. We often will start talking about how their babies are going to not only survive but thrive. We incorporate the families in their care as soon as possible.

It was a weird feeling at the NICU coming home because clearly we’re ecstatic to bring her home, but we're scared because we don't know what’s going to happen and you're leaving the family of the NICU that we’ve now gotten to know for four months. And we didn't know where to begin with how to arrange this sort of care, and what we didn’t get answered in the NICU we had those last minute questions answered once we got home.

I mean that’s a great relief to have, to know that there are people at the NICU that you can still call and talk to you and get information from. They’re doing great – Dylan, he's always been doing great and he's up to over 13 pounds now. He’s eating well – fun and interactive, and Alexis is doing great too. She's still on oxygen, she's still on her food pump, which we hope to end soon, but she’s close to eight pounds as of now. She’s still small, and so she's still trying to catch up, but developmentally she seems like she is coming through this whole ordeal and her rough start really well.

It is such a great experience to see growing, thriving babies and their families come up to you, and to be able to interact and tell us how they're doing.

I still get goose bumps when they come in here. Obviously we don't recognize them, you know, recognize the parents. The parents are so proud that the babies have come this far, and they're so excited to show us how the kids are doing – how they’re doing in school and socially – that’s our reward.

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