Posted by Divya Sathyanarayanan
November is National Prematurity Awareness Month. While no one plans or prepares to have a premature baby, some parents may find themselves in this situation. This was the case for Kaylee Tomes and her husband in March this year.
First-time mom Kaylee, a resident of Simi Valley, was excited to welcome twin babies. At 33 weeks, Kaylee was admitted to Simi Valley Hospital for Preeclampsia—a pregnancy complication where expectant mothers develop high blood pressure and other symptoms such as swelling of the face, hands, or feet— dangerous for the mother as well as the baby’s health. Kaylee had to undergo an emergency C-section, despite the fact that it was only 33 weeks. Since the babies would be delivered premature, they needed specialized neonatal care. Kaylee was transferred overnight to CHA HPMC to ensure that her babies would receive highly specialized care in our NICU, staffed by renowned neonatologists from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and specially trained experts.
Kaylee and her husband arrived at CHA HPMC on the night of March 13. “The entire journey was overwhelming. It’s our first baby and we didn’t know what to expect due to the complications. Moreover, we had never heard about HPMC before or knew anything about the doctors or nurses,” she explains, as she recalls the fateful night.
After being admitted, Kaylee and her babies were continuously monitored. The nurses and NICU experts reassured the first-time parents about the safety of their babies. “The delivery itself was very quick. I had so many questions about the delivery process, but the delivery team was very kind and answered all of them. One of the nurses even let me hold her hand during the delivery, as my husband came in later to the operating room,” remembers Kaylee. The babies—Amos and Sage—spent some time with their parents and were whisked away to the NICU.
Kaylee’s delivery coincided with the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the US. Hospitals and healthcare systems, including CHA HPMC, had rolled out stringent safety measures and visitation protocols to protect the patients and healthcare teams. “During the first week, we were nervous being away from the babies who were in NICU. We live far from the hospital, but wanted to visit the babies every single day. We drove to the hospital and visited our babies who were very vulnerable to these viruses. So we tried to keep ourselves as safe as possible,” says Kaylee.
As time passed, Kaylee and her husband developed confidence in the care that their babies received at CHA HPMC. “It’s difficult to see your baby in the NICU. But we knew that they were in safe hands. We saw them grow and progress every day. We called the NICU team every morning with hopes that our babies would be discharged,” she says. While Amos spent six weeks in the NICU, Sage showed faster progress and was discharged in four weeks. For Kaylee and her husband, bringing the babies home was the best moment of their pregnancy journey.
Fast forward to today, Kaylee’s twin babies are happy, healthy 8-month-olds. “They are meeting all growth milestones and it’s exciting to see them learn new things every day,” says the happy mother.