HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It is estimated that between 9 and 13 percent of infants born in the United States end up in the NICU, that’s according to NYC Langone Health.
“It’s any time a baby after they’re born needs any extra help or support from a medical standpoint,” said UPMC Harrisburg Medical Director for the NICU Dr. Carey Welsh.
Dauphin County couple Sam and Mary Green have 2 sons, Hector and Roy.
Mary was born three months premature, weighing about 14 ounces. That’s similar to the weight of a soda can.
“It’s borderline miracle that I survived,” said Mary Green.
When Mary gave birth to her sons, they both needed intensive round-the-clock care.
Hector who is now 3 years old, was having breathing issues and Roy was born 5 weeks ago with respiratory issues.
“It was terror, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be losing my wife and baby for the first time especially,” said their dad, Sam Green.
“I remember a few days in once things started to really hitting home that he was gonna be in the NICU for a couple weeks, I did not want to leave his room and I was like no, I’m going home to no baby,” said their mom, Mary Green.
Mary says one of the hardest parts was not getting to hold her babies after they were born.
“The other day I actually saw a video a mom post-c-section getting to do skin-to-skin immediately after, which I did not get to do for either of them.”
Dr. Welsh says they do the best they can for moms to experience that.
“So that they can experience that bonding with their baby that maybe is happening in a little bit less anticipated and more stressful time,” said Dr. Welsh.
Dr. Welsh says this to families.
“Just know that you know, our goal is to take the best care of their baby during a very stressful time for them, and then to also take care of them and involve them in their care and to make sure that they have both the family and the baby have all the support that they need,” said Dr. Welsh.
The UPMC Harrisburg NICU has a total of 42 beds.