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The Abel family

Surprise delivery - Abel's story

Surprise delivery: Buffalo Hospital takes extra special care of your unexpected deliveries

Andrew Abel was working in downtown Minneapolis on July 17, when he received a phone call from Buffalo Hospital.

"It was a nurse telling me my wife was about to deliver our baby," recalls Andrew. "The surprising part-he wasn't due for another seven weeks."

Andrew's wife, Trisha, an art teacher at Monticello High School, says: "The night before, I was nauseous and had cramps, but at a recent checkup everything was fine, so I wasn't worried. The cramps became painful in the morning, so I went to the hospital."

Things moved fast at the hospital.

Coordinated care

"Trisha was in labor and already dilated to eight centimeters," says obstetrician Thomas Minke, MD, Buffalo Clinic. "We quickly pulled together a care team, including nurses, a pediatrician and respiratory therapist, to be ready for the baby."

"We coordinate efforts to ensure the best outcomes for everyone," says Cindy Oquist, RN, Birth Center manager. "Our Birth Center staff is specially trained and equipped to handle premature deliveries, and if needed, we have immediate access to Minnesota Neonatal Physicians, P.A., at Children's Hospital."

"Dr. Minke reassured me and told me what to expect so I wasn't scared," says Trisha. "The nurses held my hand till my husband got there."

It took Andrew 90 minutes to reach the hospital. His son Brayden arrived 30 minutes later, weighing 4.5 pounds.

"Brayden was a champion, and we were all very impressed with him," says pediatrician Kristina Loken, MD, Buffalo Clinic. "He was born at nearly 33 weeks, and everyday makes a big difference. While Brayden cried right away, premature lung problems may not become apparent until 24 to 48 hours following birth, so he needed to be watched closely."

Level II nursery

Brayden was placed in Buffalo Hospital's Level II Nursery. A Level II Nursery provides specialized care for premature babies who need to be closely monitored, often for a few weeks.

"The advantage of having a Level II Nursery in our community and being able to take care of babies like Brayden is that it keeps families close to home and close to their support system," says Loken.

Extra-special care

Brayden needed an oxygen hood to make it easier for him to breathe, an incubator to keep him warm, an IV for antibiotics and special lights to treat jaundice. Several monitors tracked his vital signs and body temperature.

"He was so tiny, and it was hard to see him surrounded by the wires and monitors, but the nurses explained everything and it wasn't as scary," recalls Trisha.

"Caring for an infant and mother goes beyond their clinical needs," says Oquist. "Having a premature or sick newborn can be emotional and stressful for new parents. We support their emotional needs and provide an environment that allows them to bond with their baby."

Brayden spent two weeks solely in the Level II Nursery. "We were encouraged to spend as much time with him as we wanted," says Trisha. "And even though he needed a feeding tube at first, I was able to give him his feedings, and that was important to me."

Keeping warm, growing big

After Brayden's round of antibiotics was complete, Trisha and Andrew were able to spend time with him in their own room a few hours a day, with increasing hours each day as he learned to eat on his own.

"Brayden did better than any of us expected," says Loken. "He also surprised us by not having much trouble keeping his body temperature normal, which can be hard for preemies without much body fat."

Going home

Three weeks after he was born-and half a pound bigger-Brayden went home.

"The first night was nerve racking-being completely on our own for the first time-but it went great," says Trisha. Brayden continues to grow and is completely healthy. "At times I still can't believe Brayden arrived so early. We weren't quite ready for him, but everything went so smoothly, and our family is doing great."