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Pregnancy and Childbirth
Suzy Sill and Tiny Dreams: Women's Care
St. Michael Medical Center’s Special Care Nursery keeps premature babies closer to home
Suzy Sill of Port Orchard knew her third child might arrive earlier than expected. Her second child, son James, was born at 32 weeks gestation at Harrison Medical Center in 2016. James then spent the next month in the Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Tacoma’s St. Joseph Medical Center while Suzy and her husband Andrew juggled caring for a premature baby in Tacoma with parenting their toddler, Josey, back at home in Port Orchard.
Though Suzy was happy with the care James received at St. Joseph Medical Center, she wasn’t eager to repeat the experience, or the daily commute. When son Jonny was born at 34 weeks gestation at Harrison in June 2018, Suzy was thrilled to learn that he could stay at Harrison’s Special Care Nursery, a smaller Level II NICU, until he was strong enough to come home.
“Jonny was the youngest baby to stay at the Special Care Nursery, and I was so happy to be able to not only have all three of my children at Harrison, but to keep Jonny here in this community,” said Suzy.
Harrison’s tightly-knit nursing staff meant that Suzy quickly got to know each nurse caring for Jonny, she recalled. Though Harrison provided Suzy with her own hospital room, daily meals, and every possible accommodation for breastfeeding and pumping, life with two young children at home meant Suzy couldn’t spend every moment at Jonny’s side, she said. When she did have to leave the hospital, she knew her son was in good hands. “If I had to miss a feeding, because I was caring for two other children at home, I could call the nursery, and I’d know who it was answering the phone.”
Caring for a premature baby — especially one who can’t yet come home — isn’t easy, Suzy said. But Harrison’s caring providers made the experience memorable, instead of stressful, she said. “Having Jonny stay here in this community made all the difference to us as we got used to life as a family of five. Harrison was wonderful with Jonny. I’d recommend the Special Care Nursery to anyone.”
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