NICU Babies Grow Up to Pay it Forward
By Jody, a Children’s National Hospital parent
I was 26 weeks pregnant with identical twins when I went into premature labor and had an emergency C-section. George and Constantine were born at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland on May 10, 1996. They each weighed just over two pounds, but quickly lost weight.
Constantine was not breathing well and was transported to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Children's National Hospital. The stress of separation took a toll on us all. The NICU staff intervened so George could join his brother at Children’s National. They both improved after their reunion, but Constantine was on life support and struggling. His oxygen levels kept dropping and his lungs filled with liquid. All we could do was pray.
Dr. Matt Picard took him off the breathing machine. He was shocked when Constantine took a breath on his own. He told me there was no medical reason this child should be alive.
Each week their health improved. Dr. Billie Short checked in one day and noticed Constantine’s color was off. She acted fast. He was quickly diagnosed with Necrotizing Enterocolitis, a dangerous intestinal infection in premature babies. Dr. Kurt Newman performed a surgery that saved most of Constantine’s intestines.
The boys stayed in the NICU for three months. I called it the “Neonatal Intensive Care University” since we learned so much there. Children’s National continued to care for George and Constantine as they grew into healthy children.
My boys are now in their early 20s. Constantine is a fire-fighter. George is a restaurant manager and volunteer youth leader at church. We remain thankful for the wonderful care they received at Children’s National. My twins pay their good fortune forward, saving lives and helping others every day.