NICU family rally around battle over premature son
Will, a lawyer, began his nearly 1.5 hour commute from Onslow County Court while Cleere was admitted to hospital for further ultrasounds and tests.
“Basically, they figured out that they no longer thought it was safe for the baby to be in the womb,” Will said. “And then the question was, well how long can he stay in there?”
The schedule changed quickly when the team at Maynard Children’s Hospital reviewed the situation. Among several other factors, the ultrasound revealed that there was fluid around Sledge’s liver and near his brain, prompting doctors to be extremely concerned about a serious condition called hydrops, which can be life-threatening. premature babies at risk.
Cleere was brought back around 2 p.m. the same day, July 23, to deliver her baby boy. When William Sledge Reaves was born, doctors saw immediately that there was no sign of hydrops – the first major victory in the life of a young fighter.
“It was really amazing because I can definitely tell you that there were angels in that room who helped him,” Cleere said. “I have no doubt that the Lord was very present in this room and was fighting for him.”
The sled, with a tough name, weighed just 1 pound, 12 ounces at birth and was immediately intubated to help it breathe. Another early victory was the intubation of such a small child.
Sledge has been in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Maynard Children’s Hospital since birth and continues to grow stronger and deal with the ups and downs of her young life.
Life at the NICU
Cleere and Will said they often hear the term “NICU roller coaster ride” this time around with their newborn son. There are a lot of wins and tough times, but Will and Cleere both said the support from the NICU team members keeps them on track.
“Suppliers are really helpful for this,” Will said. “If Sledge is having a rough day with one thing, they’ll say look al
l these other great things that happened today. It’s tough, but it’s a great reminder.
“You kind of try to train your mind to say, ‘Hey, that’s part of the journey and sometimes what feels like a step back isn’t, his body is learning, all of his systems are growing, he is maturing and that is. is part of that, ”Cleere said. “It’s really just to have such a sense of confidence that they’re good at what they do, it’s not their first rodeo so Will can be the dad and I can be the mom – because that’s what Sledge needs and he can feel it from us I think.
Trust in the healthcare team is an invaluable part of life at the NICU, agreed Will and Cleere. They said it was unnatural to have a baby and leave the hospital to go home with their child.
The camaraderie with the care team and the welcoming at all times of the team members who are looking after physical and emotional needs make it easier to sleep one night and return to Maynard Children’s Hospital each day to get through the night. time with their baby boy and focus on their role as parents.
“I think it starts when you walk into the children’s hospital,” Will said. “Whether it’s Jackie, Barbra, Lee or anyone else at the reception who just invites and greets and asks how Sledge is doing. It starts there and continues until the moment you come back and see Mr. Lawrence, Natasha or MJ and they ask you how he is, how you are and make sure you have everything you need.
“Then her primary care nurses, her nurse practitioners, her doctors – there are too many to name so many to name so many – they just make you feel like, ‘Hey, we’re all here, we’re all in the same boat. ‘ It’s amazing when you consider the fact that each of them worked 12 hour shifts. Whether you walk in at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m., you get the same positive attitude.
Cleere and Will said Sledge still has a long way to go and that they are proud of their son for everything he has overcome so far. Cleere has a mantra that she heard early in their experience that is dear to her heart throughout their time at the NICU.
“As a mom you just pray that he rests and grows and I think about it all the time,” Cleere said. “He’s going to have his bumps, we’ve had them and we will have them again.” Then we’ll have it where we hang out a bit. But as he rests and grows he will be able to handle and fight anything that comes his way and he will get right to the point.
Sledge is out of his ventilator but is still receiving breathing assistance. His feedings are growing and so is he, as he weighed up to 4 pounds 6 ounces at nine weeks.
The Reaves family can’t wait for everyone to be home together, but until then Sledge will continue to live up to his tough name and fight with his parents and a care team by his side.