Ian David is considered a miracle baby by some.
He was born healthy on April 26 even though his mother, Julieta Foronda—who weighed just 80 pounds when she was 15 weeks pregnant and admitted to the Grey Nuns Community Hospital—had a complicated pregnancy. Typically, pregnant women stay in hospital for only a few days, but Julieta was in their care for nearly five months.
“I tried to be at home, but I was too sick,” Julieta says. “I would have died of malnutrition.”
Julieta suffered from a severe case of hyperemesis, which is characterized by severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. These symptoms can be common in expectant mothers, but they tend to subside after the first trimester. In Julieta’s case, her symptoms were severe and persisted throughout her pregnancy, leaving her unable to take in the nutrition she needed.
Julieta needed to be fed through a feeding tube and intravenous line during her entire hospital stay.
She has fond memories of the team who cared for her.
“They did a good job being on top of everything and taking care of me,” Julieta says. “I couldn’t ask for more. They made it so much easier.”
During her five months on Unit 34, Julieta became more than a patient to the team. Tera McGonigal, Clinical Nurse Educator, says a special bond formed between Julieta and the nurses.
“Julieta had needs that we don’t often see on the Antepartum unit,” she says. “She brought the team together, and the nurses rallied around her. We grew because of her.”
The team admired Julieta’s perseverance throughout her stay.
“She was so determined to push forward even when she was told things might not work out,” Tera recalls. “Her perseverance and courage was amazing.”
While Ian is healthy, he was born weighing just four pounds six ounces and will stay on the NICU until he gains weight. Julieta and her husband Adrian are ecstatic to be new parents and are looking forward to taking Ian home when he’s ready. Julieta’s nausea has dissipated since she gave birth and she has returned home.
“She became part of the family,” says Jennifer Collins, one of the nurses who cared for Julieta. “We were so happy to see her doing well enough to go home again, but it’s a bittersweet goodbye.”
Unit 34 staff couldn’t let Julieta go without giving her a proper goodbye, so they organized a baby shower to celebrate baby Ian and his mother’s improved health. The staff brought in food and gifts for the family to enjoy, and shared many hugs and fond memories.
“I didn’t expect this much,” says Julieta with a smile. “I couldn’t have survived the past four months in the hospital without you all. I wasn’t sure I could do it.”
“You are the bravest woman I have ever seen,” says a nurse who cared for Julieta.
Although the Unit 34 staffers miss Julieta, they are grateful they were able to care for her—a feeling that Tera shared with the new mom.
“We are better nurses because of you.”
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