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Newton Medical NICU 'graduates' first baby
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Nolan Dean was in a hurry to celebrate "Fat Tuesday" with his family according to his mother, Stephanie Dean. "He had five more weeks to go before his due date, but he obviously could not wait," she said.

Born five-weeks prematurely on Feb. 24 at Newton Medical Center's BirthCare Center, Nolan Dean had the distinction of being the very first patient to "graduate" from the brand new Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the BirthCare Center.

According to Tammy Hotz, clinical manager of The BirthCare Center, an average of 10 percent of all newborns after birth need extra support. With the opening of the NICU, babies born with special needs won't have to be transferred to other area hospitals, Hotz said.

Stephanie and husband Brian Dean were anxious that their baby had come early but were elated that the level II intensive care nursery was ready for him.

"My labor progressed rapidly and there was no stopping the baby," said Stephanie, an insurance specialist for Dr. Bryan Parry, an orthopedic surgeon on staff at NMC.
She was admitted to the hospital Tuesday morning by Patricia Detzel, a certified Nurse Midwife with Cathy T. Larrimore and Associates in Covington. Stephanie received an epidural at 11 a.m., and "after that, everything happened very fast," she said.

The NICU staff of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists sprang into action.
NICU nurse Louise McCampbell, who has 10 years of experience in neonatal intensive care nursing, double-checked and triple-checked all of the resuscitative equipment.

Nolan was born at 3:07 p.m. and, despite his prematurity, weighed seven pounds. However, Nolan's lungs were not fully mature and filled with amniotic fluid.
Leslie Leigh, M.D., head of the team of the unit's neonatologists and specially trained physicians, inserted a breathing tube into the baby's airway and placed him on a ventilator to help him breathe. Dr. Julianna Nahas, the baby's pediatrician, also joined the NICU team.

"We were so afraid for Nolan, but Dr. Leigh hugged me and said not to worry - he would take care of him and everything was going to be fine," said Stephanie. "Dr. Leigh and Dr. Nahas worked together on the baby and that made me feel very comfortable."

Nurse Karen Hart made sure that parents Stephanie and Brian were kept informed of every detail. Hart allowed five-year-old brother Austin into the NICU to get a look at his new baby brother. Austin asked, "When is he coming home?" Hart assured him it would be soon.

Just two days later the ventilator was removed and Nolan began to breathe on his own without any difficulty.
One week later, the doctors announced that baby Nolan was stable and ready to go home. "We call it graduating," said Hart. Nolan is going home without any special needs other than normal newborn care.

"Everyone in The BirthCare Center has made our experience very special," said Stephanie, "and now we're ready to go home and take care of our new son."