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One Family's NICU Story

It was Jennifer Edmonston's first pregnancy.

For the first 6 months, she'd felt just fine. But after feeling ill over the Christmas holidays, she visited her obstetrician. Testing determined that something was wrong-very wrong.

Jennifer's doctor diagnosed her with HELLP syndrome, a rare pregnancy-induced condition that basically causes the body's systems to shut down. It's a serious situation, and the doctors had no choice but to deliver Jennifer's baby immediately.

Barely tipping the scales at 2 pounds, 1 ounce, Bert Edmonston V was delivered at FMH by C-section on January 4, nearly three months early. He was immediately admitted to the hospital's Billy Miller Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which was fully staffed and prepared for tiny patients just like Bert.

"I was allowed to see my son 24 hours after he was born," says Jennifer, "and from that very first day it was evident we were all surrounded by caring and talented individuals who had our son's wellbeing and best interests at heart. Yet I still remember looking at him and thinking, 'He's so tiny, he's too early, and he's so fragile. He's helpless, and so are we.'"

But little by little, the tiny infant got stronger and healthier. On March 5th, 62 days after his arrival into the world, Bert and his family left the FMH NICU for their home in Middletown.

Today, the Edmonstons have settled into a comfortable routine. Looking back on the experience, mom Jennifer is grateful.

"I can't even begin to comprehend how much more difficult our experience would have been if we had had to travel to Shady Grove or Johns Hopkins to see our son on a daily basis," she says. "For example, when we received a heart stopping call in the middle of the night that our son needed a blood transfusion, we were out the door and able to be by his side in 20 minutes."

"I'd like everyone in Frederick to know that doctors, nurses and staff of the Billy Miller NICU at FMH are an amazing group of individuals, completely dedicated to saving the lives of those babies who, for one reason or another, had a rough start in life. They saved our son's life; how could I not owe a debt of gratitude to each and every individual who touched our lives?"

"Every day I look into the eyes of my little boy I am thankful."



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