Benny Camargo welcomed her new baby girl Vanessa into the world at 27 weeks - well before the anticipated arrival – after experiencing a placental abruption. This uncommon, yet serious complication of pregnancy occurs when the placenta partially or completely separates from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery. The condition can decrease or block a baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients and cause heavy bleeding in the mother.
After having an emergency cesarean section at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Camargo recalls waking up and learning that her baby had been taken to the Kim and Steven Ullman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on site and that she needed to have a blood transfusion.
Camargo spent several weeks in the NICU – longing for the opportunity to take her baby home- but she knew it would be a long road until Vanessa was healthy enough to be on her own. Each day and night, she cared for her daughter in the NICU, only leaving for brief meal breaks in the afternoons. “Being able to feed and hold the baby for skin-to-skin contact helped so much. We were even able to involve other members of the family in Vanessa’s care so they too could be a part of her journey.”
Over the course of 93 days in the NICU, Camargo watched her baby reach milestones and get stronger each day. Camargo spent time with the medical staff - learning about the various breathing machines and monitors that were helping baby Vanessa – and was taught how to administer infant CPR.
Camargo remembers how every Wednesday she would meet with the nurses, doctors and therapists who were involved in her baby’s care. “Talking about the progress and achievements our daughter was making was something we looked forward to every week. The staff really became an extension of our family.”
If it weren’t for the NICU staff at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, baby Vanessa may not be the healthy, active toddler she is today. According to Camargo, “Our daughter is perfect because of how well the NICU and medical staff took care of her. To say thank you is not enough!”
The Camargo family enjoys attending the Kim and Steven Ullman NICU reunion and keeping in touch with the medical staff each year. They believe that Vanessa - now two-and-a-half years old - remembers some of the nurses that greeted her during her very first days in the NICU.