November 17, 2013.
Over 3 hours away from home and just 23 weeks and 1 day into her pregnancy, Barbara Lancaster- Beresnoy and her husband got the shocking news–their baby had to be delivered immediately. In the fight of his life, Gavin defied the odds and after a 131-day battle in the NICU, he was finally able to go home. Today, he is a healthy and happy 18-month old. Barbara has kindly shared her story below:
“Gavin Chase was born at 23 weeks 1 day weighing 1 pound 8 ounces. Gavin’s early birth came as a complete shock and we had no idea what we were in for. My husband and I were away for business in Verona, NY, 3.5 hours from home with our then 9-year-old son, Dylan (a full-term, 7.5 pound baby). It was the last night of our 6 night stay that I started feeling pains that I assumed would pass. By 5 am we were on our way to a small local hospital where I was told the baby would be born in the next hour. The closest level 4 NICU was in Syracuse and a transport team was waiting in the OR to take care of Gavin and bring him on the approximately 45 minute trip to Crouse Hospital in Syracuse. The next morning we received a call to get to the NICU asap because Gavin had a serious brain bleed and they did not know how much longer he would be with us. Gavin had a grade 3/4 bleed… the most severe. This bleed decreased his slim odds of surviving even further and could affect him in the future. We stayed on the NICU floor for the next week as Gavin fought to survive, but eventually moved into a nearby hotel.
Gavin spent his first month at Crouse and experienced several other complications, as well as a PDA ligation during his 2nd week. But, he was a fighter, and we let him guide our decisions. By day 27 we made arrangements for Gavin to be flown to Westchester Medical Center, a regional level 4 NICU closer to home, although still an hour drive, and our other son. Over the next 3 months Mom, Dad and Dylan were constantly at Gavin’s side through all of the ups and downs (sometimes it felt like there were only bad days). There were a lot of tears, good and bad, as we tried to adjust to this strange way of welcoming a baby to the world and becoming a family of four. As we got closer to discharge, Gavin was scheduled to have both an MRI to assess the damage from the brain bleed and bilateral hernia surgery. The surgery went well and we received wonderful news that the MRI showed his brain bleed never reached grade 4, which can make a huge difference in his future. After 131 long days, Gavin came home with us.
Today he is a very happy and healthy 18 month old. He has happily surprised every one of his doctors. He weighs 24 pounds, is walking, eating everything he can get his hands on, and is no longer on any meds or monitors. This experience has affected our family deeply. We will never forget the people that helped us get through our toughest, yet most rewarding experience. Every family member, friend, nurse, doctor and charity that helped Gavin get to where he is today and that supported us so we could be with him while he was in the NICU will forever be in our hearts.”
Thank you Barbara for sharing your story in honor of World Prematurity Day and helping raise awareness about the challenges families face with prematurity and long NICU hospitalizations. We are so happy to hear that Gavin is doing well!