On a Saturday morning in April, I started having labor pains. This was our 3rd pregnancy, but this one had been different. So when my husband came in from doing the farm chores, we made arrangements for the older two boys and went to the hospital. I ended up with an emergency C-section, just six days before I was scheduled for a possible induction, but most likely a C-section — the baby was breech. So Wyatt was born through an emergency C-section.
The following day we were given the news that he had an infection and low blood counts and needed to be transported to the UPMC Hamot NICU. The doctor started with an ambulance but then changed the order to Lifeflight because there was a possibility of a brain bleed. Wyatt arrived by helicopter, and Mom and Dad were not far behind as we drove the 1-and-a-half to 2-hour trip to UPMC Hamot.
When we arrived, the doctor gave us a head-to-toe evaluation of Wyatt and a list of tests that would be done. We hadn’t thought about where we would be staying — we assumed we would stay at the hospital with our infant, but for someone who had just had an emergency C-section that isn’t the best rest and a terrible plan for an extended stay.
The first night since Wyatt’s blood counts were low, we could stay in one of the family rooms at the NICU. Wyatt had a transfusion that night, and we were able to be right there. But with the antibiotics that he was on, the need for the belly rumen light, and the need for his blood counts to increase on their own; we needed to make arrangements as we would be staying in Erie a bit longer.
Fortunately, the hospital had arrangements with several hotels nearby for discounted pricing. We spent 10 days driving back and forth from the hospital to the hotel. We had family at home taking care of our other two boys.
We are a one-income family, so those nights at the hotel, meals, and fuel all began to add up — quickly. Plus, with Wyatt’s diagnosis of Down Syndrome, two clubbed feet, and other things, we knew that things would not be looking up soon.
Ten days later, we could take Wyatt home, his blood counts were where they needed to be, but we had multiple trips to doctors, hospitals, and tests that would consume our next year.
Seven years later, we are still indebted to the doctors, nurses, and staff at the UPMC Hamot NICU who helped our little boy and both of us through a difficult time.