Every birth story is unique. Recently, Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center (SRMC) had the opportunity to be part of a triplet birth, with our NICU – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit – playing a starring role. Hear from some of our providers about their experience with this unique — and exciting — birth day times three!
"I first met with the mother when she was 18 weeks pregnant. From that point on we assessed things every two weeks to help manage the risks of her pregnancy and determine when would be the right time to deliver the triplets. I used ultrasound images to watch their development. After talking with Dr. Josephs, who would delivery the babies, we felt confident they could be delivered at Spotsylvania, using their NICU. A NICU is important for any mother but especially for a high–risk pregnancy."
Doctors estimate that nearly 500,000 infants in the U.S. will require NICU care each year. Because of that, many parents look for a birthing center that offers emergency and advanced care for newborns. The Level II NICU at SRMC is just steps from Labor and Delivery to provide 24/7 support to babies who are born early or have minor health problems.
"Preparing for a triplet birth is always an exciting as well as harrowing experience. The biggest decision is how long is appropriate to continue the pregnancy. You have to find the delicate balance of not torturing the mother, while ensuring healthy babies are being brought into this world. In this case, we planned to deliver them at 34 weeks. Anytime a birth is happening prematurely, I expect some form of NICU involvement. And having triplets prematurely, I felt it would be a certainty."
A Level II NICU, also called a special care nursery, is staffed and equipped to handle:
- Babies born early (between 32–35 weeks)
- Smaller–than–average babies (birth weight as little as 3.3 pounds)
- Mild respiratory problems
- Minor conditions, such as jaundice, that don’t require urgent subspecialty care
- Moderate complications that occur during labor and delivery, including small amounts of meconium in the lungs
- Babies who can’t stay warm on their own
- Babies who aren’t yet strong enough to feed on their own
The SRMC NICU offers advanced expertise led by neonatologists (doctors with special training in caring for sick or premature newborns) and Pediatric Hospitalists training in neonatology, as well as neonatal clinical nurse specialists, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, and lactation consultants.
"Since this was a planned cesarean section delivery, we had the time to organize. We had a huddle a week before the delivery with the nursing director, nursing manager, staff nurses and the respiratory therapist team who would be present on the day of delivery. We anticipated the type and sizes of the instruments required for the gestational age of the neonates, and checked all equipment and devices we might need.
We organized into three teams comprising of a neonatologist or Pediatrician, nurse RN and respiratory therapist and assigned jobs of routine newborn resuscitation and respiratory assessment of the triplets.
The triplets were preterm and low birth weight, so they required warmers, oxygen and special screenings right away. They needed respiratory support for less than a day, but close monitoring and nutritional support as they gained weight over 2–3 weeks. We were with them every step of the way until they were discharged home close to their full–term term gestation age."
Having Level II NICU services at SRMC allows families to stay close to home — and their support base — while receiving advanced care for their baby (or babies!).
Learn more about our Maternity Care and our NICU services at SpotsRMC.com/service/nicu or schedule a Birth Center Tour.