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Joey's Story (Lettie Brown)

Jolene (Joey) Thompson


Following a healthy, full term pregnancy, we were admitted to OSF for an induction due to low amniotic fluid. The induction was unsuccessful, and our daughter was born via c-section on February 7, 2015. She was 7 pounds 11 ounces, measuring 19.5 inches long. We named her Jolene Danielle, but she’s gone by Joey ever since!


Because we had a c-section, the NICU staff was present at the birth. They immediately noticed breathing concerns, but everyone believed they were minor and due to the c-section. Joey was taken straight to the NICU and placed on an oxygen nasal cannula. I was able to quickly see her, but then was taken to my own room for monitoring. Matt was able to stay with her, which was a relief to us both. We all thought she’d have a short stay, but less than 24 hours after her birth, she was diagnosed with lung failure and had to be intubated. Seeing our baby on a ventilator was heart wrenching.


The next day, the doctor discovered a pneumopericardium, or air around Joey’s heart. Thankfully we were able to avoid any procedures and it resolved, but it was a very scary time. Joey’s oxygen saturation continued to dip, with no real certainty as to why, and the many attempted interventions were not working. We were increasingly desperate, but had no choice but to wait for Joey to heal.


After many ups and downs, tears and celebrations, the ventilator was removed on February 15. It was a long, scary week, but Joey was finally off sedation medications and back on an oxygen cannula and could be held and fed! I got to do skin on skin and Matt finally got to hold his girl when she was eight days old.


From there, things seemed to get easier and easier. We were able to do baths, feedings, and diaper changes. Of course, there were still many wires and tubes, but we felt like we were actually parenting.


It took another week, but on February 22, Joey was officially completely off oxygen and we switched to intermediate care. Things moved quickly at this point, and we were discharged on February 24, after an 18 day stay. We were nervous to not have the constant monitoring, but also very ready to go home!


Joey had numerous X-rays done in the NICU, and one final chest X-ray at 3 months, which showed healthy lungs. Today, Joey has no limits and is extremely healthy and happy. We truly couldn’t feel luckier.


While in the NICU, Joey had the best care. Not only did the doctors and nurses from OSF keep an incredible eye on Joey, they also helped two very worried first time parents. Both of us spent every night sleeping in the NICU, and even with their constant protests that we should go home and rest, the medical team was always there for us. We are forever grateful to them (especially Drs. Kumar, Kouri and Hickmann and Nurses Laura, Diana and Joel) for getting our girl home.


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