Published on Nov 25, 2013
What started off as a normal Valentine's Day, turned into a nine-month hospital stay.
Jessica Usasz was 18 weeks pregnant with her second child, when her water broke. She was rushed to the hospital in Saint Paul, Nebraska where doctors kept her on bed rest for a few weeks. But then, things started getting even more complicated and Jessica's doctors had her transported to The Nebraska Medical Center.
"I got to the Med Center, and they did all the tests to make sure I didn't have an infection. Then we laid in bed for a week, and a week later I went into labor," said Jessica.
Baby Jared was born on February 21, 2013 weighing 1 pound, 6.5 ounces; becoming one of the tiniest babies ever delivered at The Nebraska Medical Center.
"I was really scared. We weren't sure if he was going to make it the next minute or hour. It was one of the worst feelings in the world," said Jessica.
Doctors moved quickly, running a number of tests on Jared, while consulting with other doctors around the country.
"He tolerated his feeds well, he didn't have any bleeding in the brain, his eyesight was good, he was developing properly, but his poor little lungs were rough from the start," said Dr. Ann Anderson Berry, a Neonatologist at The Nebraska Medical Center. "The best that we could come up with is that his lungs were very premature and delicate. Through this entire time, Jared has been on a ventilator and now he's on a tracheotomy."
For nine months, Jared was under the careful watch of doctors and nurses at the NICU at The Nebraska Medical Center. But, on November 19th, doctors finally let Jared's parents take him back home to Saint Paul, Nebraska.
To celebrate, the NICU nurses threw Jared's family a "going away" party -- filled with books, cake and lots of tears.
"The nurses are the best. I couldn't have found any better nurses than what we have here at The Nebraska Medical Center," said Jessica. "They've become part of our family."
Doctors are hopeful Jared will be off his ventilator by spring. If things continue to go well, his tracheotomy could be removed within the next two years.
"I think the worst is behind Jared," said Dr. Anderson Berry. "He does have some hurdles, but he's making great progress."
Jared's parents are thrilled to have him home for Thanksgiving, and know exactly what they're thankful for this year.
"This hospital means everything to us," said Jessica. "Jared wouldn't be here without them. From the doctors who delivered Jared, to the doctors that took care of him throughout his whole NICU experience. Just look at Jared - he's our living proof of how well they've done here."