NICU “grad” overcomes the odds

by Hennepin Healthcare

Milly Alvila-Reyes

Milly Avila-Reyes

“I’m so happy with the staff, because Milly received great care – and love,” said Erika  Avila-Reyes. Her daughter, Milly, has been in Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) since April 5, when she was born at only 22 weeks and 6 days – an age when less than 2% of infants survive. Weighing only 1 pound, 5 ounces, the odds were against her.

“But she surpassed all of our expectations,” explains Milly’s neonatologist, Dr. Connie Adkisson. “Even as a very immature infant Milly showed spirit and determination as she would move herself into the position she wanted or cried until things were just right for her.”

Although she’s had a remarkable hospital course in the NICU, Milly did experience a brief bout of pneumonia – which is not unusual for a premature infant. But even pneumonia couldn’t stop Milly. With the intensive care she received in the NICU and her amazing strength, she quickly and completely recovered from the infection.

Ernesto, Erika, Giselle and Milly

Dr. Adkisson also gives credit to Milly’s parents, Erika and Ernesto, and her big sister, Giselle, who have been very involved in caring for this new member of their family.

“Her parents have been as her side throughout this time and we believe have helped tremendously in her care and current health.”

Other than the little bit oxygen, Milly has no other evidence of being born extremely premature. Her activity and exam are both normal for an infant at 37 weeks of life, and she’ll be going home soon.

After she goes home, Milly will continue to see the doctors at HCMC in HCMC’s Newborn Intensive Care Follow Up Clinic, which maintains close contact with her Neonatal doctors during the transition to her pediatrician and other specialists.

“The nurses, the doctors – everyone has been so nice and supportive,” said Erika. “I just don’t have the words to say ‘thank you’ for everything they’ve done for my family.”

“I’m the happiest father because I have a great family,” beamed Ernesto. “My wife and daughters – they are everything to me. And thanks to HCMC, I now have two little princesses.”

Strategically located next to HCMC’s Birth Center, the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has a comprehensive team of specialists available around the clock at a moment’s notice to care for infants who need intensive care. HCMC’s Level IIIB NICU provides the highest level of care in a warm and nurturing environment for infants who are in distress at birth, require close observation, or infants who are transferred from other facilities for treatment of neonatal diseases.