Family returns to Rome hospital to thank staff for saving their child
Heather Reynolds and Adam Cutler, of Rome, celebrated their daughter’s first birthday by bringing her to Rome Memorial Hospital.
It wasn’t because little Phoenix was sick. The family visited for a chance to thank the doctors, nurses and staff who worked so hard to save their little girl one year ago, and to show them how well she was doing today.
Nancy LoGalbo, of Rome, Reynolds’ mom, said she will never forget the night her granddaughter was born eight weeks early, on Dec. 13, 2016 at Rome Memorial Hospital. She was in the delivery room with Cutler when the baby was delivered.
“They were saying ‘we’re not getting a heartbeat,’” LoGalbo said. “She wasn’t breathing either and we were really scared. They were working on her and at one point I thought they were going to give up on her, but they never did give up. Because of what they did, she is with us today.”
It had been a difficult pregnancy for Reynolds. Her obstetrician, Dr. Lauren Giustra of Mohawk Valley Women’s Health Associates, was keeping a close watch on her because of her history of pre-term births with her other two children. She had to have weekly shots to prevent premature labor.
Unfortunately, on the day before her own birthday, additional complications arose which caused Reynolds to begin having contractions. Once she arrived at the maternity department at Rome Hospital, medical intervention was started in the hope of stopping Reynold’s labor from progressing, but it was unsuccessful and Dr. Giustra had to deliver the baby.
When little Phoenix came into the world, she weighed only 4 pounds 12 ounces. She was having breathing difficulties and when her heart stopped beating a code was called to summon additional trained professionals to assist in handling this type of health crisis.
“I was so scared,” Reynolds remembered. “Dr. Giustra was taking care of me but the team came in to take care of Phoenix. They were all working on her and I couldn’t tell what was happening. It was really scary.”
“We really didn’t think she was going make it,” LoGalbo agreed, “There are no words to express how thankful we are for everyone who worked so hard to save her.”
Pediatrician Dr. Ayotunde O. Adeyeye, of Rome Medical Group, played a key role on the team that worked to stabilize Phoenix after she was born. The baby had to be put on a ventilator to help her breathe before she could be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Upstate Galisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse. She remained in the NICU for about a month before she could finally come home to join her parents and older sister and brother.
“Dr. Adeyeye was so nice and comforting when he came to talk to us after Phoenix had been transferred,” Reynolds said. “Later, when we were looking for a new pediatrician, I was so happy to be able to get him. We really appreciate everything he did for Phoenix when she was born and now he continues to care for her.”
Today, Phoenix is a happy, healthy one-year-old. Her grandmother bragged that she is already starting to say some words and has even taken a few steps recently.
Phoenix’s family felt that they could never say “thank you” enough to the people at Rome Hospital who gave their little girl the chance to reach her first birthday. They thought there was no better way to celebrate the milestone than to get together with some of those who were part of the team for a visit and some birthday cake.
Registered Nurse Elizabeth Darrow was also on the team when Phoenix was born. Darrow remembered the tense night of Phoenix’s birth and was thrilled to be able to see how well she is doing now and share a piece of her cake.
“When they showed us some of the photos taken right after she was born, it really brought back all of the stress and concern of that night,” Darrow said. “We don’t often get the opportunity to learn the outcomes of some of our complicated deliveries, so it was a joy to be able to see how she has grown and how well she is doing.”
Several other nurses were able to join in the celebration, as well as Dr. Adeyeye.
“We know that we wouldn’t have Phoenix today if it wasn’t for the wonderful care she got at Rome Memorial Hospital,” LoGalbo said. “We wanted to come back to thank them again and to let them know we haven’t forgotten and will never forget what they did.”
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