NICU Success Story: Matthew

Expectant parents Jonathan and Kristina were excited and looking forward to the birth of their first child. All looked well at their 26-week check up, but later that day, Kristina's water broke and she was admitted to Reading Hospital, where she spent the next 16 days on bed rest.

Their son Matthew was born after a gestation of 28 weeks and 5 days. Despite being premature, the delivery was normal. After a quick hug from his parents, Matthew was taken to the NICU.

Matthew spent the next 82 days in the care of NICU doctors and nurses. He was born with pneumonia and from the beginning, it was clear that his lungs were going to pose the biggest challenge to his health. After the infection was resolved, he began an arduous process from intubation to breathing room air.

Two months into his NICU stay, Matthew developed a hernia requiring surgery. Although the surgery went smoothly, infection followed. While being treated, he contracted another infection, the highly contagious C. difficile. Matthew had to be quarantined just days before his anticipated discharge date. Luckily, he responded positively to treatment and was sent home three days after his due date.

Matthew was discharged on low-flow oxygen and a monitor to the care of a pediatric pulmonologist. He remained on oxygen for 45 days. To the delight of his pulmonologist, he was released from care before his third birthday.

Matthew is now a healthy and happy 4-year-old. For Kristina and Jonathan, the worry and stress of the NICU stay have faded, leaving happy memories of their son's first few months. Kristina and Jonathan attribute Matthew's success to the advanced level of care offered at Reading Hospital.

"We are forever grateful for the medical care and emotional support of the NICU staff. Reading Hospital offered us access to some of the top neonatologists in the country. We got the standard of care you would expect at a large city children's hospital but with the feel of a community hospital," said Kristina.

"Our home and lives are in Berks County," added Jonathan. "In a very stressful time, we were so blessed that our son could be cared for in our hometown."

For information on parent support groups or to be put in touch with the parent of a NICU graduate, call 484-628-8843.