Special Care for Preemies

Preemie and mom receive top-notch care at Inova Alexandria’s NICU

When Stacey Smit first set eyes on her newborn son Gavin, he was suspended in a tangle of life-support machinery. Born when Stacey was only 28 weeks pregnant, Gavin was in the Inova Alexandria Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). He weighed just 2.5 pounds. “I remember how tiny he looked in the incubator,” Stacy recalls. “There were tubes and wires everywhere. But all I saw was my baby.”

For Stacey and her husband Cecil, the NICU began as a world of frightening unknowns. Soon it became a place of comfort and hope. The facility combines the best of both worlds: state-of-the-art technology in a warm and loving environment. Premature or special needs newborns receive round-the-clock care from board-certified neonatologists, as well as specially trained nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists and nutritionists.

“We are a level 3 NICU, which means we can provide the highest level of care for infants born as early as 23 weeks,” explains Lesley Chauncey, RN, Nurse Manager. “We have expert staff, but in our family-centered NICU, parents are the most important members of our team. We do all we can to encourage them to be part of their child’s care.”

Care for Mom
Stacey received special care as well. Her pregnancy was uneventful until complications emerged at 27 weeks. “We admitted her to the hospital and began treatment in an attempt to sustain the pregnancy as long as possible and improve her fetal outcome,” says Kristina Hibshman, MD, Stacey’s OB-GYN, and part of the Physicians for Women practice. “About a week later the baby started to show signs of distress. Stacey delivered by Caesarean section and the baby was treated in the NICU. Despite an unexpected major complication, Stacey had an amazing outcome.

Six weeks after Gavin was born, the Smits were finally able to take him home to White Plains, MD.

Gavin is now a healthy, thriving 4-year-old who loves bike riding, soccer, and collecting rocks and playing with his cars, trains and dinosaurs. On his birthday each year, the Smits return to the Inova Alexandria Hospital NICU to celebrate with staff. Stacey and Cecil cannot say enough good things about them. “They provided all we needed to get through such a stressful, challenging time,” Stacey says. “We are forever grateful. They are really superstars in our eyes.”

The Best for Mom, Baby
Learn more about Inova Alexandria Hospital Birthing Center at inova.org/iahnicu.