After spending his first five months of life at Broward Health Medical Center, baby Alanie Lettsome graduated from the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and is going home to the island of St. Thomas.
His mother Graysel Stuart sought care at Broward Health’s flagship hospital, which operates a Level III NICU, after cervical incompetence put her at high risk of an early delivery.
Three days after she arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Stuart delivered her son during her 23rd week of pregnancy. Considered a micro preemie, Alanie weighed only 1 pound, 1 ounce.
Babies born this early are at a higher risk for major complications. While Stuart said at times the situation was overwhelming, she appreciated her medical team’s honesty about the situation so she could be mentally prepared for any potential complications.
Fortunately, although baby Alanie required a lot of care in his early days and needed to be on a ventilator, he did not face some of the dangerous complications that can be common in premature babies, such as bleeding on the brain or intestinal complications.
Under the constant care and monitoring of his multidisciplinary care team and parents, Alanie grew to nearly 9 pounds, and he was ready to go home.
During her son’s extended stay at the hospital, Stuart says the staff at Broward Health was there for her.
“At Broward Health, I felt loved,” Stuart said. “They made sure I was taken care of mentally and physically, from ensuring I was well-fed to taking me outside for walks.”
With Broward Health’s NICU family support coordinator Caitlin Collin, Stuart has created a scrapbook. She participated in the hospital’s weekly NICU scrapbooking hour, which gave her the opportunity to not only document Alanie’s NICU journey but to connect with some of the other NICU parents as well.
“I have seen some very meaningful connections take place in these sessions,” Collin says. “Moms will often share with other mothers about their baby’s birth and postpartum issues they are facing, and I have even seen some parents become friends that keep in touch after the NICU.”
Alanie’s doctor, Johny Tryzmel, MD, who specializes in neonatology and pediatrics, says, “Our patient is not just the baby, it’s the whole family. In our unit, we have the luxury of offering private rooms so mom and baby can bond. We’re focused on providing family-centered care and including the family in the baby’s care from the beginning. This is fundamental to obtain the best outcome.”
“Our main goal is sending home a healthy baby, and we cherish the opportunity to celebrate our NICU graduates,” said Tryzmel.
To learn more about Broward Health’s neonatal intensive care unit, visit browardhealth.org/locations/salah-foundation-childrens-hospital.