A Year After a Hard Start to Life, UK Obstetrician's Baby Makes a Birthday Visit to UK HealthCare NICU
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 20, 2014) — Doctors and nurses flocked from every corner of Kentucky Children's Hospital to give 1-year-old Connor Thompson birthday squeezes and kisses.
They noticed two tiny bottom teeth that would come in handy later that day for eating birthday cake. They called him handsome as he revealed those new teeth while smiling for pictures. With so many adoring friends in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), it's no wonder the miracle baby was showing off with giggles, stomps and grins.
"If he's not smiling, then you know something's wrong," Misty Thompson, Connor's mom, said.
One year earlier, little Connor made his debut in this world at 1 pound 10 ounces and about the length of a writing pen. During her pregnancy, Thompson, an obstetrician and gynecologist based at the UK HealthCare clinic in Hazard, Ky., diagnosed herself with preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition affecting the mother's blood pressure that occurs in 5-8 percent of pregnant women. On Feb. 19, 2013, Thompson knew her condition was worsening and that Connor would need to be delivered soon, and it would have to be at the NICU at UK HealthCare. There, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition known as HELLP syndrome. The next morning Thompson's own boss, Dr. Wendy Hansen, delivered Connor by cesarian section.
Connor's birth at 27 weeks premature was the beginning of a string of medical challenges in his early weeks of life. At 6 days old, Connor was diagnosed with a bowel obstruction created by a twist in his lower intestine. UK HealthCare' s Dr. Joseph Iocono surgically corrected the obstruction. After the operation, Connor was attached to an ostomy bag larger than his infant body.
Three weeks later, Connor was diagnosed with patent ductus arteriosus, a heart defect that required another surgery March 16. He received multiple blood transfusions and suffered from pulmonary hemorrhaging. After 74 days in the NICU, Connor was released from the hospital in May 2013. He underwent three more bowel surgeries and was attached to a temporary ostomy bag until October 2013.
Being in the position of a new mom in a critical situation made Thompson realize the importance of having a compassionate team of doctors and nurses on her side. She said the experience has helped her to become a more sympathetic obstetrician.
"I look at things totally different now," Thompson said. "I now know what it's like to be a scared mom."
Crystal Ferrell, the primary care nurse who chose to work with the Thompsons through Connor's NICU stay, made a special trip off-the-clock to UK Children's Hospital to celebrate Connor's birthday. When Connor was born, he was one of the tiniest babies Ferrell had ever seen. Ferrell, Thompson and Thompson's husband Steven worked together as a team committed to the best outcome for Connor. Ferrell said Thompson entrusted her baby with the nurses and doctors, despite having medical credentials behind her name.
"She was amazing," Ferrell said of Thompson. "She never was intimidating. She said, 'Tell me what you think?' She was the mommy at the bedside, not the doctor."
After saying hello to the many NICU doctors and nurses who worked on his case, Connor joined family and friends for an all-star themed first birthday party Feb. 19. Everyone at UK HealthCare agreed the party's theme was fitting for a healthy, happy little boy who had fully recovered from a hard start in life.