KC Estate Works Sep 2017

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September Is NICU Awareness Month N.I.C … What?

and three scares later, our little man came squawking into the world, surrounded by about eight doctors and nurses. We were lucky — all to the credit of the team at St. Luke’s. He had no major lung problems and no cognitive or physical impairments. JB simply needed to grow. So, for a little over a month, Allison and I made the daily pilgrimage back and forth to the hospital to be with our son while juggling work and the random obstacles that life presents. All the while, the NICU team worked tirelessly to monitor his health and make sure he hit his benchmarks for going home. These nurses and doctors work 12-hour graveyard shifts and manage multiple tiny patients without ever losing an ounce of patience or compassion. JB was released from the NICU in mid- December, two weeks before his expected due date. At his 9-month checkup, he weighed in at 18 pounds, 3 ounces, and he is now in the 50th percentile for length and 25th percentile for weight for full-term babies his age. None of this would have been possible without St. Luke’s outstanding NICU team. NICU nurses and doctors all across the country routinely make miracles happen on a daily basis. Critically ill infants who otherwise would have no shot in this world grow up to be healthy adults thanks to the tireless efforts of these wonderful people. If you have a family member, friend, or acquaintance who works in an NICU, take a moment to thank him or her on my behalf for all that they do for the families facing the darkest and most frightening hours of their lives.

What does NICU stand for? If you asked me this prior to last year, I wouldn’t have had a clue. That all changed on November 3, 2016, when I became intimately aware of the neonatal intensive care unit and the amazing doctors, nurses, and support staff who comprise it. On that day, my son was born two months ahead of schedule, weighing 3 pounds and 11 ounces. It was the best and most terrifying day of my life. My wife, Allison, was severely pre-eclamsic, and anyone who has endured pre-eclampsia knows that it is a gut-wrenching tug of war between the health of the mom and baby. After being admitted for a week, the doctors decided that Allison’s health had had enough. About 12 hours

This is obviously a cause near and dear to our hearts for both Allison and myself. If you would like to learn more on how you can get involved to support NICU patients and the health professionals who care for them, please visit nicuawareness.org. Another fantastic organization providing research and support for families of premature infants is March of Dimes. Their website is marchofdimes.org.

From my family to yours, happy NICU Awareness Month! We are eternally grateful.

See you soon.

-John Thompson

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