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Children's Care Fund Testimonial

Julian's Mother

I had an ideal pregnancy with Julian until 34 weeks pregnant. Then, I ended up testing positive for COVID. I was having some symptoms that I knew weren’t normal, so I went to the ER in Meadville.

Julian out nicu shirt

We were scheduled to have a C-section with Julian at Magee-Womens, UPMC Hamot, in a few short weeks. When the staff got to check me out, they ran tests to see that I was in DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) and my organs were going to shut down, and Julian was showing signs of distress.

The next thing I remember is that four to five Labor and Delivery nurses came down to the ER and ran with my bed down the hall. I was told that we are having this baby now via C-section. It all happened so quickly that my other half wasn’t even made aware (he was in the vehicle in the parking lot with our two daughters). Julian was born and had some fluid that he swallowed and showed some signs of distress trying to breathe. I didn’t even get to see him until I was in my hospital room, and they brought him to me three hours later in a transport isolate, bringing him to UPMC Hamot’s NICU. Then I had to break the news to my other half, telling him that we just had our son as he didn’t even know that was going to happen.

Upon his arrival, we had hospital staff contacting me to let me know about how to contact the medical team, nursing contacts, how to view the cameras that are live you can see on your phone, etc. Luckily I got well right away with an insulin drink and was able to be discharged two days after having Julian.

From the moment I got to the NICU, Sheri the charge nurse, made me feel absolutely comforted. She had an open-door policy — I could call or stop in at any time to ask questions, give concerns, etc. The nurses allowed me to parent our son right away. Diaper changes, bathing, kangaroo care, feeds etc. Emily was an absolute godsend. She is one of the lactation consultants that UPMC Hamot has who supported my breastfeeding journey. Since Julian was so little, it was much more challenging for him to get the hang of feeding. Emily made every effort to ensure we never gave up and gave so much support in anyway she possibly could.

The amount of love, diligence, and compassion the nurses had made our stay so easy. When I wasn’t there, I was able to call anytime with updates, watch the care on camera. Even with setbacks due to COVID, they ensured all safety precautions were followed to prevent Julian from getting ill. My fiancé wasn’t able to come to see him for 10 days as he tested positive for COVID. We had feeding setbacks, oxygen requirement changes, COVID set backs, etc.

Julian was able to come after a long two weeks in the NICU. His five siblings were ecstatic to meet their little brother finally! The NICU kept in contact with us after with check-ins. We also had a six-month follow up in their clinic where Julian surpassed his milestones for his age. The therapist Sophia was amazing to work with and said we didn’t need to be seen anymore. We just got seen for Julian’s nine-month checkup, and he is thriving!

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