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Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Healthwatch Fall 2009

At-Risk Triplets Receive Lifesaving Care

Exceptional Measures for Tiniest and Most Critical Patients

Triplets: Nicolas, Benjamin and Sebastian

Susanne and Mariano were thrilled to finally be expectant parents. Still, they were caught off-guard by one little word: triplets.

"My mouth fell open, and my husband had to steady himself against the wall," Susanne says. With all the research they had done on the journey to parenthood, they were well aware of all the possible complications and risks – for Susanne and for the babies.

Luckily, the first five months passed uneventfully. But then, 19 weeks along, a routine checkup revealed Susanne would require bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. At 22 weeks, she was admitted to the hospital so she would have the treatment and assistance necessary to prolong the pregnancy. The physicians and nurses at Memorial Regional Hospital's Family Birthplace and Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital's Wasie Neonatal Intensive Care Unit collaborated closely to tend to the entire family's needs.

"Susanne received great care," Mariano says. "And the father is always a second-class individual in these scenarios, but I remember receiving great support. "

Precious Gifts, Precarious Preemies

On Christmas Eve 2002, the babies would wait no longer. Fourteen weeks early and dangerously tiny, they made their appearance. Nicolas weighed 1 pound, 9 ounces; Sebastian was 1 pound, 14 ounces; and Benjamin was 1 pound, 11 ounces. Initially, the new parents were overwhelmed to see their fragile babies nestled in incubators, connected to monitors and respirators.

"It showed me how fragile life can be," Susanne says. "I'm so thankful we chose Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. From day one, we knew we could depend on them to take care of our children. "

The remarkable patient- and family-centered care made a world of difference. "They made sure we were involved every step of the way, hands on!" Mariano says. "From changing diapers inside the incubator to feeding them with the small and delicate tubes going inside their bodies. "

Circle of Caring Kindness

Triplets: Nicolas, Benjamin and SebastianConsistency of care and caregivers also made a fundamental and very personal impact. "You don't want to meet a new nurse every day who doesn't know your baby," Susanne says. "We developed real relationships with these nurses. It's not just a job for them– you become part of their circle. "

After three months in the hospital, the triplets were able to go home and today they are bright, rambunctious boys. "I call them my miracles," Susanne says. "We owe our children's lives to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. "

When Susanne and Mariano learned baby number four was on the way, one thing was certain. "We knew we would go back to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital," Susanne says. "We're happy to have a cutting-edge hospital nearby – it's practically in our backyard. "

To find a Memorial physician who is committed to patient- and family-centered care, call Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Physician Referral Service toll-free at (866) JDCH-DOC. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.