After nearly 2 years of living in the NICU, preemie goes home for the holidays

2012-02-06 07:45:30 by Laurie Schueler, Media Relations Specialist, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

Keegan Nichols isn't your typical toddler. His mother, Kaitlyn Bibeault, of Bowerston in Harrison County, Ohio, delivered Keegan when she was only 25 weeks gestation.

Because Kaitlyn experienced pre-eclampsia, her OB/GYN had to perform an emergency C-section. Little Keegan was born in April 2010, weighing in at a mere 1 pound, 2 ounces.

Due to his prematurity, his lungs weren't developed enough to handle breathing on their own.

Keegan spent four months in Aultman’s neonatal intensive care unit, and when his chronic lung disease worsened, he was transported to the NICU at Akron Children’s.

For 15 months, he has been a part of the Akron Children’s Hospital family. Susan Craig, a neonatal nurse, took the family under her wing when she became Keegan’s primary nurse.

Keegan is now ready to go home, just in time for the holidays. It is a bittersweet time for Susan and so many others who have cared for him over the past year. Susan jokes that she will “have to take FMLA and get counseling when he leaves,” because she has become so attached to Keegan and his family.

This week, she arranged a going-away party for Keegan, including a beautiful cake donated by Acme Freshmarket, pizza and gifts.

To me, the story of Keegan Nichols helps illustrate what makes the NICU at Akron Children’s stand apart. Yes, we’ve got the latest and greatest equipment. Yes, we’ve got a staff of neonatologists and nurses that make it their business to stay informed with the most recent treatments and research available.

But best of all, we take care of your children as we would our own. You become part of our family when your child is seen here. And that love is an important part of the healing process.

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