Earlier this year, when Janelle Lorento’s water broke at 28 weeks, she was all too familiar with the next steps. In 2015, her oldest son, Jase, was born prematurely at 31 weeks. Similar to the experience with her son, Janelle was put on bed rest and, after two weeks, Ivy Quinn Lorento made her debut, weighing just 2 pounds 13 ounces. Anticipating an extended stay at the hospital, Janelle made the decision to transfer to Catholic Medical Center’s (CMC) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) & Family Suites.
“The day we were finally transferred to CMC was the first day since bed rest that my emotions completely overwhelmed me—except this time it wasn’t sadness, worry or anger,” Janelle recounted. “I felt like I could take my first deep breath in weeks.”
CMC’s NICU & Family Suites, formerly known as the Special Care Nursery, first opened its doors in 2010 as a very unique model of care to other NICUs across the country—family-integrated care. The premise was to promote early bonding and provide comprehensive care to both mom and pre-term baby together, in a shared room. The concept was extended further with the introduction of family suites, allowing for the entire family to be together and preparing the entire family for the baby’s eventual journey home.
“For our entire stay, we were able to spend our days not just holding, feeding and changing Ivy, but completing homeschooling, playing card games, taking family photos, enjoying quiet family dinners and making memories as a family of five - all in the comfort of our own calm, private room. It created a sense of normalcy in a very abnormal situation,” Janelle remembered.
“CMC’s NICU & Family Suites is a special place not just for moms and babies, but families,” Unit Nursing Director Tanya Ricci RNC-NIC, BSN stated. “By keeping families together, you can really see the bonding happening early on which is so important for preterm babies. To see the entire family walk out the doors together once the baby is ready to go home is so satisfying and why we do what we do.”
After 40 days at CMC’s NICU & Family Suites, and 57 total NICU days, baby Ivy was discharged home with her family.
“The impact of that care and the gift of no longer having to choose between my children had the most critical impact on my postpartum health,” Janelle said. “I believe that impact directly correlates to the care NICU parents are able to provide their babies during this period. We are so thankful for CMC, the incredible people who make up their staff and the ability to process and honor this chapter of our lives—together.”
For more information about CMC’s NICU & Family Suites, click here.