Palmer, 4 months
Richmond | Services: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
To the great surprise of first-time parents Julia and Marc, Palmer Ayscue was born five weeks premature with lungs that had not yet developed completely. He was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU when the delivery team saw that he was in respiratory distress.
Palmer spent a total of 18 days in the NICU with his parents by his side. Once his breathing improved, he was removed from the neonatal incubator and the team turned its attention to addressing feeding issues brought on by the respiratory distress. Marc remembers that removing the feeding tube was a big milestone for the family, because it was "the last tube he was connected to."
Throughout the entire experience, the nursing staff encouraged Julia and Marc to spend as much time as possible with Palmer.
"We had 24 hour access and a private room in the NICU, so we got to do all of the important 'firsts' with Palmer, like his first diaper change, feeding, and bath," says Julia. "We still got to feel like new parents, even in the hospital."