On Sunday, an annual reunion was held for staff and families from the Methodist Women’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
This year's theme was construction, due to the NICU expansion project at the hospital, located at 192nd & Dodge Sts.
Families gathered in the parking lot of the hospital to check in and receive plastic yellow hard hats, passed out by staff in safety vests.
They walked to the nearby West Dodge Station Elementary school where they enjoyed cookies, lemonade, face painting, and catching up with the doctors and nurses that helped them come home.
RN Leslie Yelick met with former patients, twins Scarlett and Rayne Greco, now 15 months old. Their mother, Chastity Greco, almost delivered them at 27 weeks.
“All the NICUs were full, and they were going to have to Life Flight them to Kansas City,” recalled Greco.
Doctors were able to stop her labor, and there was plenty of room at Methodist when Greco delivered at 33 weeks.
“I couldn’t imagine a better NICU experience. All of the nurses were amazing,” said Greco.
Nurse Yelick said it’s not just the babies that need care.
“Seven weeks in the NICU is very stressful on the entire family. Not only caring and making sure that the babies are growing to their fullest, but involving the parents and making sure that they’re a part of the team.”
RN Madison MacDonald agreed, “A lot of it is helping the parents …helping them learn to take care of their babies no matter how small they are.”
Melinda and Tiffiny Bohannon knew they were having triplets, and that they would be premature, but they weren’t prepared for their babies to be born 11 weeks early and to spend more than two months in NICU.
“There were some worries about immature eye development, lung development, they were on CPAPs for quite a while,” said Melinda Bohannon.
Six-month-old Liam, Finn, and Declan are now doing fine.
“Methodist women’s is amazing. The nurses were incredible; the doctor’s were amazing. It’s kind of a family. In fact, we were a little lonely when we went home,” laughed Bohannon.
And this annual reunion makes it possible to keep those family ties strong.
“These babies are here for a couple months so you really get to know them and their families. So, it’s just great to see that they’re doing so well at home,” said MacDonald.
“It just brings shivers up my back just because it’s so wonderful to see how big they’re getting, see how healthy they are, and…they’re a part of our family. And it’s lovely seeing them,” said Yelick.
The NICU expansion project means even more babies have a chance to become part of the family.