A Recovery Room Miracle with a Micro-Preemie

Blake Schnitkey

On August 29, 2016, our second child, Tessa, came into the world much sooner than we were anticipating. With a due date looming on the horizon three months away, we were still in the “excited and expecting parent” stage when my wife developed preeclampsia (HELLP syndrome). After she began feeling ill, and our home tests showed her blood pressure through the roof at about 180/115, we rushed to an area hospital.

Upon arriving, we were quickly placed into an examination room, and the necessary precautions were taken to mitigate the issues my wife was having. After roughly two hours, our OB/GYN made the decision to transport her via ambulance for further examination to a larger, better equipped hospital in the closest metropolitan area, which was Promedica Toledo Hospital. Our local OB/GYN told us that chances were high that she would need an emergency C-section. We were scared to say the very least!

After arriving at the hospital in Toledo, the doctors and nurses evaluated my wife further and put the plan into action. It all happened so fast! Tessa was delivered by emergency C-section within an hour of arriving at Promedica Toledo Hospital at just 1lb 12oz – and 11 weeks early.

The technology used to determine Tessa’s and my wife’s needs and save both their lives was incredible, to say the least. Results were available within minutes. Tessa visited us in her newly minted isolette about 20 minutes post-birth, during which time my wife was not coherent due to anesthesia and medications. Tessa was then rushed off to the NICU to stabilize her condition. We would not see her again for a full 24 hours.

The most magical part of the entire experience happened in the recovery room the next day. For the first time since the very brief bedside visit, we were able to see and hear Tessa, and Tessa was able to see and hear us through the use of a hospital tablet that sat atop her isolette and transmitted a live feed both ways from her NICU room to my wife’s recovery room. It was a moment that I will never forget, and I am glad that I had the presence of mind to capture a photo. I remember thinking how thankful I was that the technology existed to make this happen. Anyone who has gone through a preemie birth knows the importance of things like kangaroo-care and the mother-child connection – things that happen in the first few fleeting moments of life that can help a preemie develop stronger and faster.

Even the sound of a mother’s voice has an impact in the early development of a preemie, much like skin-to-skin contact. And because of the technology in a very adept hospital, we were able to make those vital connections at that very moment. Today, Tessa is a healthy and normal 20-month-old, thanks in no small part to the technology utilized by the Promedica Toledo Hospital NICU and their incredible staff!

This is why #IHeartHIT.