For some, pregnancy is as easy as pie. For others, the experience can be packed with the highest highs and the lowest lows—especially when your little bundle arrives ahead of schedule. Thankfully, WellStar Kennestone Hospital helps bridge the gap between mom and baby.
by Tracy Brown
newborn photography by Janelle Hamrick Photography
You know how it’s supposed to go. You get pregnant. Carry the baby for nine months. Have said baby. Bring baby home. A few years later, repeat the process with another baby. For the majority of blessed mamas, this beautiful scenario is reality. But for others, like myself, the journey to motherhood can be hard and much, much scarier.
Here’s the story of how Anna and Asher Brown made it into the world and how WellStar Kennestone Hospital made the journey so much easier to walk through.
To get the full picture, let’s take it back a bit to my first pregnancy. My son, Braxton, now a spitfire of a 5-year-old, decided to make his appearance into the world at 34 weeks without any warning signs of trouble. (You can read all the dramatic details here.) As a first-time mom, my world was rocked.
I had birthed this beautiful creation, was able to hold him for only a few short minutes, and then he was whisked away from me and taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the hospital (which was not WellStar Kennestone). The hospital had specific visiting hours only at the NICU – even for parents. This meant that out of all the hours in the day, there were only a few short hours that I could spend holding and getting to know the tiny human I had made.
It felt like my arm was missing. There were times during the day when it was physically hard to breathe.
Braxton did well and was eventually able to come home, of course — but I’ll never forget the feeling of missing him so achingly during those early days.
the next chapter
Fast-forward a few years and my husband and I knew it was time to expand our family, once again. We were ecstatic when we easily conceived our second baby (a little boy we named William). However, there were complications, and we experienced a heartbreaking loss in the second trimester.
After a year of grieving and praying and healing, we were ready to try again to give Braxton the sibling he so badly wanted. We would often ask him if he wanted a brother or a sister. Every time he would reply, “I want both.” One year to the date that we lost William, we conceived two beautiful souls at the same time: one little boy and one sweet girl. We couldn’t believe God had blessed us with not one baby, but two more. We were so excited. But since twins tend to make their arrivals ahead of schedule, we were also very worried — given Braxton’s early appearance.
My pregnancy with Anna and Asher was seamless. Everything set up perfectly, and we had a team of amazing WellStar doctors and specialists that cared for me during my gestation. But in grand Brown baby fashion and without any warning, I went into labor at just 29 weeks and 4 days.
Even though for the entire pregnancy we were prepared for an early delivery, having babies go to the NICU is a surreal and often frightening experience. Twenty-nine week babies also face a slew of different challenges that we never experienced with our first. Though in the pit of our souls we knew the babies would be okay, there were still times when I locked myself in the bathroom to cry or times when we held each other and prayed.
Through it all, we were so thankful we had delivered at WellStar Kennestone Hospital because not only did the staff feel just like family, they also had an open-door policy (no restrictive visiting hours!!) and a special camera system in place to help with those hours we couldn’t be with the babies. In fact, just a year prior, WellStar Kennestone had become the first hospital in Georgia to offer parents a special glimpse at their babies while they’re in the NICU. The hi-tech cameras are mounted to each baby’s bed space and transmit a secure and private image through a service called NICVIEW® .
With this option, we were able to see our babies on our smart phones, tablets, computers or any internet-accessible device during designated viewing times. And since we have family spread out across the United States, everyone we love got a chance to sneak a peek at them, too. Check out our interview about how much we loved using these cameras:
Anna and Asher went to the NICU after being born at 29 weeks. NICVIEW cameras at Kennestone, the first hospital in Georgia to offer parents a private livestream of their child, helped shorten the distance between the babies and parents.
Posted by WellStar Health System on Wednesday, June 28, 2017
A Dream Come True
Now, a few months later, we are all home and busy with nursing, tummy time and picking out cute little matching outfits to wear next. And after all we’ve been through, we don’t take a second of our time with our babies for granted. We know every day just how blessed we are to have them in our arms. Our time in the NICU now feels a bit like a blur, but thanks to the NICVIEW® cameras, we were present for precious moments that otherwise we would never have gotten back.
NICVIEW® is funded by donations to the WellStar Foundation by WellStar Kennestone Hospital Volunteers. To learn more or to make a personal contribution to the WellStar Foundation, visit wellstar.org/give or call 770-956-GIVE (4483).
“A special thanks to the loving team of doctors and nurses who helped bring Anna and Asher into the world and sustain them through their first months of life. We are forever grateful.” —The Brown Family
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