At 29.5 weeks, I was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia and admitted to Magee-Womens, UPMC Hamot, with the intention of not being discharged until my child was born. A week and a half passed, and my son was in a dangerous state of potentially losing his life, as was I. A surgical delivery was our only option at this point.
On the morning of May 26, 2016, our 3-pound, 2-ounce son Troy was born! He was presented to me, then whisked away to the NICU to be with the team of OR specialists with us during the delivery. Troy’s life began traumatically, and so did our new world of being parents.
In the NICU, we were surrounded by medical equipment, sounds, and babies that just needed to get better. It was so overwhelming to us. The Hamot Health Foundation (HHF) group stopped in to give out treats to parents and staff to brighten up the mood. They also supported us by talking with us and being there if we needed anything! All of those generous actions helped us to ease into our new life.
As time went on in our NICU stay, we learned so much and were extremely willing parents to want to take care of our son as much as we were allowed to by the NICU team. It became our new normal.
We couldn’t stand to be away from our baby at any given time so the Nesting Room, typically used to help transition babies and parents out of the NICU and to going home, became our new home at times.
We had gift cards graciously given to us by HHF and Grady’s Decision to help with our parking pass, gas, and food — so we didn’t need to worry about mundane things at that time. Our sole focus was Troy.
Some of the other things we remember vividly were the giraffe isolates. They were vital to getting Troy to continue growing and maintaining his comfort and health in the NICU. They reassured us as parents that he was safe and warm. The few times we did leave, we could watch Troy on a monitor called the NICView. It was such a reassurance to be able to keep an eye on him when we did step out for a quick minute.
Fast forward to 2020, and we were expecting identical twin girls, Taylor and Tyra. Not only was this during the pandemic but I was put on high alert as a high-risk pregnancy because of my past diagnosis of preeclampsia and having a twin pregnancy.
Our sweet angels were born in June 2020 at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh. We already knew how it was most likely going to play out being an early delivery and mainly knew what to expect. What we didn’t expect was to lose a child. Tyra Luppino Trapp, our cutest, sweetest little baby, had passed away at only five days of life. We were devastated, distraught, and overcome by sadness and anger. We were blessed to have been able to have her for her short time on earth with us. And even still blessed with her sister Taylor who survived. We knew we wanted to come home to Erie to UPMC Hamot’s NICU and have Taylor be treated there for the remainder of her NICU stay. Two days later, we were able to do just that. It was bittersweet. But the HHF group came into the unit to greet us, as did the nurses, doctors, and staff who we had come to know and love from when we had been there with our son four years prior.
We were also in a different time with COVID restrictions and worries. HHF helped us tremendously with gift cards to assist us in whatever we needed help. We also had the NICView cameras again, which was even more special because our family members could turn on the camera at their homes or on their phones and watch Taylor, who they had never met before because of COVID.
The Giraffe isolates were needed for Taylor to continue growing and thriving. Our daughter had used everything our son needed to get to his healthiest stable self and get home. And it’s all thanks to HHF.
HHF does so much behind the scenes that make our children safer, healthier, and parents can have some calmness during a traumatic time because of this amazing support.
We now have two absolutely beautiful children who are the sweetest souls. We owe a huge part of that outcome to our wonderful UPMC Hamot, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital NICU, and Hamot Health Foundation, who supports our hospital.