MAYWOOD, Ill. -- At her 24-week ultrasound, Julie Wilson was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition for moms and babies. Wilson was rushed to Loyola University Medical Center where a team of maternal-fetal medicine specialists gave her a series of steroid shots to strengthen her baby’s lungs.
Just days later and four months ahead of schedule, Wilson underwent an emergency C-section and delivered a baby boy named Liam. He entered the world at 1 pound, 1.3 ounces and 10 3/4 inches long. Liam was transferred to Loyola’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where nurses and doctors have cared for him around the clock since his birth on Jan. 7.
After many sleepless nights from watching her son undergo countless procedures and a life-threatening intestinal problem, Julie will celebrate her first Mother’s Day with Liam in the NICU on Sunday.
“While it may not be a traditional Mother’s Day celebration, all that matters is that I am with my baby and my husband,” Julie said. “The best Mother’s Day gift I could ask for is a healthy baby."
Julie has already received this gift. Liam has quintupled his weight since birth, and he is scheduled to go home next week. When he does, he will be visited by Loyola University Health System’s home-care nurses two to three times a week. Loyola nurses staff a first-of-its-kind, integrated home-care program for premature or sick infants. The unit also provides a follow-up clinic for high-risk NICU graduates to undergo developmental screening and referral care during the first three years of life.
“We have received incredible care here at Loyola,” Wilson said. “It is comforting to know that we will have the added safety measure and support of Loyola’s NICU nurses at home."
Loyola’s neonatologists and nurses have cared for more than 18,000 infants since the unit opened in 1987. Their parents have included the world’s smallest surviving baby, born at 9.2 ounces in 2004, and more than 3,000 newborns who have weighed less than 2 pounds.
The overall survival rate of infants in Loyola’s NICU is 98 percent. As a level-III perinatal center, Loyola offers the latest technology, therapies and techniques and serves as a national model for care of premature and sick infants.
The unit will undergo a renovation in the near future. Loyola will host a 5K race and walk on Sunday, June 10, to benefit this renovation. Julie and her husband, Matt, plan to bring Liam back to Loyola to attend the race. Matt has been busy raising funds for this event when he is not working or spending time with Liam.
For more information on the race, visit http://www.loyolamedicine.com/childrenshospital/support/5krace