When I pause on the memory of bringing my first baby into this world nearly two years ago, it fills me with so many emotions! I was full of excitement as my daughter’s due date neared, and I carefully planned every detail of her birth. But boy was I humbled when her day came and nothing transpired the way I had imagined! With the help of great nurses and my loving husband at my side, Miss Delilah Kate entered into the world at 8.5 pounds on that memorable November evening.
In the rush of greeting this new love of my life, I was informed that our meeting would be cut short, as her lungs were full of harmful fluid. Delilah wasn’t breathing and would need to be transported via ambulance to one of AdventHealth for Children’s six Neonatal Intensive Care Units. All of the pregnancy books in the world could not have prepared me for hearing those words out loud. Putting my struggling infant into the care of perfect strangers, in the hopes that they would love and care for her as well as I would was incredibly frightening; I’m so grateful to share that her NICU team rose to the occasion.
Until that day, I was clueless as to the extent of the NICU unit at a hospital. This integrated team of specialists can provide comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services, from minimally invasive surgery to highly complex, leading-edge care and procedures. In short, they’re your 24-hour network of incredibly educated and caring individuals whose main goal is to provide comfort, support, and healing to your baby. Our family received the very best that AdventHealth has to offer with the highest level of NICU care available. AdventHealth for Children has even been recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the best newborn care in Florida!
Depending on the unique needs of a newborn, there are 4 levels of NICU available.
Level I: This is where most full-term, healthy babies will go after birth. It is generally a nursery and does not require intensive care specialists.
Level II: This is a special care nursery, often used for babies who are born prematurely at 32 weeks or later and weigh at least 3.3 pounds. Here babies who are moderately ill with problems that are expected to get better quickly, can receive their necessary care. This is the level my daughter was admitted to at AdventHealth Celebration.
Level III: Are for all degrees of prematurity and children born with birth defects. They are required to have pediatric surgeons, pediatric medical subspecialists, pediatric anesthesiologists, and pediatric ophthalmologists on site or nearby at all times.
Level IV: Must have the capability to provide surgical repair of complex congenital or acquired conditions and provide transportation and outreach education. There are currently no Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Florida, but AdventHealth has met or exceeded all level IV requirements in their level III facilities.
So whether your next child is born perfectly healthy or in need of serious specialized care, you can put your worries aside knowing that AdventHealth for Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Units provide state-of-the art technology, soothing baby-friendly environments and have a wide range of specialty services.
My experience taught me that even the most detailed birth plan needs to leave room for the unpredictability that comes with bringing new life into the world. It’s comforting to know that AdventHealth for Children offers one of the top NICU programs in the country, and the best in Florida to give families a great start!