Babies Reunite with NICU Staff, Celebrate Growth

A joyful family welcomes a new baby.
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., August 11, 2017 On Aug. 6, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center celebrated the one year anniversary of the opening of the Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with a special reunion.

Since opening its doors in August 2016, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Centers NICU has cared for nearly 220 newborns.

During the event, families and NICU graduates ranging from six weeks to nine months old reunited with the nurses and neonatologists who cared for the newborns during their first few days, celebrating their growth and milestones.

For Ormond Beach residents Katelyn Gatrost and Scott Self, bringing 5-month-old Lyllie Self to the reunion was rewarding afternoon.

We made a lot of strong bonds during the 10 days Lyllie was in the NICU, and I wanted the nurses and doctors to see how much she has changed, Gatrost said.

Lyllie was born approximately five weeks early and in a dramatic fashion.

Gatrost and Self, both chiropractors in Port Orange, were touring Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Centers BirthCare Center in anticipation of Lyllie's birth, which was expected to be more than a month away. During the tour, Gatrost's water abruptly broke and she was immediately admitted to the hospital.

Lyllie arrived on March 3 at 4 pounds and 11 ounces. For the next 10 days, Gatrost stayed in the NICU with Lyllie.

Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center is the only NICU in Volusia County with private, family-centered rooms, allowing parents to stay 24 hours a day with their babies.

It was hard. It's definitely not what you want for your first child, but I stayed there with her the entire time, which made it better, she said. My sister had just had twins at a different hospital it and was hard for her to be at a NICU that didn't have private rooms, but instead had the babies in a nursery setting because she had to go home without her babies. As for me, it was a blessing that Lyllie and I got to have her homecoming together.

Once Lyllie had gained two more ounces, she was able to leave the NICU and go home.

Now, she's doing great! Gatrost exclaimed. At five months, she's grown to 16 pounds and is in the 50th percentile on all of the growth charts. She went from being this itty-bitty preemie, to a normal-size and is a happy, healthy baby.

The reunion served as an opportunity for both the families and the caregivers to reflect on the great strides the children have made in such a short period of time.

This event was really heartwarming for all of us, said neonatologist Dr. Rene Santin. Sometimes, when you are working day-by-day and caring for these babies in the NICU, you wonder if they are going to be okay later in life. To see these babies come back, and see that they were doing well, it was wonderful. That's what we normally don't see. We treat and care for these newborns and then they go home, and you wonder how they are doing. This reunion was closure, and a chance to see these babies come full circle.

Lyllie is my first baby, and when it's your first, you just want the best for them, Gatrost said. They did a really good job of involving us with all of the medical decisions for Lyllie's care. We made such great bonds while we were there, from the nurse who led the tour, to some of charge nurses and doctors that oversaw everything for Lyllie. It was really amazing to go back and see the nurses, and show them just how far Lyllie has come.

About Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center

Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center is a member of Adventist Health System, a faith-based health care organization with 45 hospital campuses and 8,200 licensed beds in nine states, serving more than 5 million patients annually. With a mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center includes the 327-bed facility in Daytona Beach, as well as Florida Hospital Oceanside with 80 beds in Ormond Beach. Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center and Florida Hospital Oceanside are two of the seven Florida Hospitals in Flagler, Lake and Volusia counties that composes the Florida Hospital Central Florida Division - North Region. As the largest hospital system in the area, the Florida Hospital Central Florida Division - North Region has 1,226 beds and more than 7,800 employees.

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