My husband and I have a two month old son who is a night owl. Baby books tell us it’s because he has his days and nights mixed up. We tend to think he just likes to party. And he’s got good reason to celebrate. A month ago, he was in the NICU.
Our son entered the NICU as a two-week old, full term newborn. However, the main reason for NICU admissions are premature births, which represent 12 percent of the annual four million births in the S. The NICU typically takes care of babies with very specific high risk conditions, such as very low birth weight, respiratory distress syndrome, congenital heart disease and a myriad of other life-threatening problems.
Proposed budget changes for the state of Texas include budget cuts to NICU admissions. Many neonatologists say that this will have a ripple effect. Not paying for life-saving NICU admissions will lead to an increase in the cost of paying for chronic debilitating illnesses that could ave been avoided.
These budget cuts would most certainly affect the family,now our friends, who shared our “pod” while in the NICU. Our sons share the ame birthday, but their son’s arrival was 12 weeks early. At only two weeks od, our young friend had already experienced a breathing tube, a ventilator nd severe jaundice. And while his parents are hopeful for his future, they are also preparing themselves for a future that could include physical and cognitive delays, or even a long-term disability.
The NICU was the best possible place for our son o heal, and it is the best possible place for premature babies to thrive. Since e’ve been home, I think often of our new young friend and pray that he will et to go home soon. He needs a chance to be a night owl and keep his parents p til 2am. And when that time comes, we hope he parties hard.
by Christine Reyes Ellery, Easter Seals Director – Camps, Counseling & Case management