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Equipped for Tomorrow

Delivering Healthy Outcomes for the Tiniest of Patients 

(Editor’s Note: This is the final piece in the series of five highlighting the chosen areas of focus for the Norman Regional Health Foundation’s Equipped for Tomorrow capital campaign.)

Expectant parents plan the gender reveal, baby’s room, clothing, car seats and care needs. What parents don’t plan is their baby needing treatment in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or for the unique challenges and emergencies that can occur when a baby is delivered early.

Fortunately, Norman Regional’s HealthPlex provides two services to treat expectant mothers and newborns needing specialized care in its Level III NICU and Obstetrical Emergency Department. The OB-ED received first-in-the-nation accreditation by the Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality as a Center of Excellence earlier this year. This distinction marks the first time a health system anywhere in the country has been recognized for obstetrical emergency care.

In order to maintain this level of care for the tiniest patient, the Norman Regional Health Foundation is raising funds to equip the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, OB Emergency Department, Labor/Delivery and Nursery with new, state-of-the-art infant warmers. The infant warmers’ technology will include uniform heat delivery, an in-bed scale, oxygen source, pulse oximetry and resuscitative equipment.

“It’s important that we don’t overstimulate premature babies by moving them multiple times," said Amy Burnett, R.N., Norman Regional Health System nurse manager.

"When you do, sometimes that can set them back. They can easily get stressed," she added. "That’s why we requested these new infant warmers as part of the Foundation’s capital campaign. All of the features that we need are in one warmer. These infant warmers would allow parents to come in and do skin-to-skin while the baby still receives the heat from the warmer."

Daily Brothers Arrive Early

Brittany and Jess Daily were thrilled to become first-time parents after a difficult journey led them to conceive via In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). At 28 weeks exactly, at 3:08 and 3:10 in the morning, Allen "AJ" Johnathan and Joe Richard Daily were born. Each baby was briefly put on Brittany's chest, then the NICU team of nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors assessed, inserted breathing tubes, wrapped them and cleaned them. Jess went with the boys as they were hurried to the NICU to undergo further evaluation.

The boys were placed on a breathing set through the nose. A feeding tube was placed, where they would receive milk, amino acids and electrolytes, along with vitamins and daily medications. Multiple wires were placed to monitor their heart rates, respiration rates, oxygen levels and blood pressures.

“No one prepares you for how difficult it is to go home without part of your heart. For three and a half months total, the boys resided in the NICU. In the beginning, there was minimal handling of the boys, because too much stimulation could be detrimental and even painful to them. Only my husband and I were allowed to touch them,” Brittany shared.

The new mom shared their daily routine became repeating the pattern of scrubbing in for three minutes, donning a mask over their faces and then talking to each nurse in charge of the boy. Two days after birth, the Dailys’ got to hold Joe for the first time. It wouldn’t be until a week later that it was safe to hold AJ.

“The scariest test for us was the brain scan because we didn’t realize how serious a brain bleed could be, or how common it was in a premature baby,” said Brittany. “It’s really comforting to know they don’t have to move the babies for testing, especially because when they are premature like that; they tell you the more jostling there is, it’s painful to them to move them around too much. And so, to not watch them scream or cry and to just sleep through a test is incredible,” she continued.

AJ was the first to come home at three months, and he came home on what would have been his actual due date of Feb. 15. Joe stayed almost two extra weeks, needing a little more oxygen and care.

“Through everything, the nurses and doctors always kept us updated, answered our questions, and worried with us. They were vigilant and thoughtful and became our family’s heroes! Our heroes got our boys ready to come home safely. Now we are so happy to be a family of four and are so blessed and grateful for everyone who helped get them home safely," Brittany said.

"We know we have a long way to go, as they were ‘super preemies,’ but we also know that, had it not been for the excellent care, compassion and prayers of the NICU team, we, and our boys, would not be where we are today,” she added.

Want to Make a Difference?

The Norman Regional Health Foundation’s $4 million Equipped for Tomorrow capital campaign will fund up to 30 infant warmers. Donors interested in making a difference by contributing to the campaign or gifting one $20,000 infant warmer can contact the Foundation by calling 405.307.1077 or visiting NRHFoundation.org/equipped_for_tomorrow.html.

“No one prepares you for how difficult it is to go home without part of your heart.”

“Through everything, the nurses and doctors always kept us updated, answered our questions, and worried with us."

  • First-time parents Brittany and Jess Daily with Joe and AJ at HealthPlex NICU
  • Joe and AJ Daily at home with their extended fur family