(RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TN) As NICU Awareness month comes to a close, former Ascension Saint Thomas Rutheford patient Averi Bates and her husband, Samuel Bates, returned to the hospital on Thursday, September 29th, to show gratitude to their personal healthcare heroes.
At the start of Averi’s pregnancy, she was considered high risk. “In 2019, while working as a cardiology nurse, I learned I had a 1.1 inch hole in my heart,” said Averi. “It has since been fixed, but when I found out I was pregnant, it automatically put me into the high risk category.” Averi also experienced gestational hypertension and severe anemia, requiring multiple iron transfusions throughout her pregnancy. “Thankfully, our baby was always healthy at every prenatal appointment and never showed any cause for concern,” said Averi.
Since the baby was in breech position, Averi was scheduled for a C-section. It was only a couple hours later that Brooklyn Bates was born on April 28, 2022, at six pounds and four ounces. “The procedure went so wonderfully,” said Averi. “It is a moment I will cherish forever.” Once Brooklyn was out, she needed some oxygen support and transferred to the NICU. Over the next 24 hours, one of the NICU nurses noticed Brooklyn was starting to decline. They quickly started imaging and testing and discovered that she had two very large pneumothoraces (trapped air) compressing her lungs and making it too difficult to breathe.
They placed two chest tubes, one on each side, to help move that trapped air. They also had to intubate her and start her on medication for pain. “It was one of the scariest moments of our lives,” Averi recalls. “It’s very rare for babies to have two pneumothoraces, and it was a truly life-threatening condition.” By day six of their NICU stay, Averi and Samuel finally got to hold their baby girl, and by day ten, they were heading home.
“Our NICU and postpartum nursing staff was amazing,” said Averi. “They sat and prayed with us on the hardest days and celebrated with us when we got to leave. We 100% believe that our nurses’ quick recognition and action is the reason our baby girl is still here with us today.”
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