Tracy and Bill Templeman are spending their Christmas in St. Bernards’ neo-natal intensive care unit this year. Their son Michael Ray was born at 29 weeks old, and was diagnosed with a rare medical condition known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
“It’s got to deal with his adrenal glands not working properly, so that’s our newest hurdle.” says Tracy Templeman, Michael Ray’s mother. “Because depending on what condition he’s got of the C-A-H it can be life-threatening.”
It’s a journey The Templeman’s say has been possible with prayer, faith and support.
“He’s my superhero,” Tracy adds. “He’s actually been the strongest one for me. But seeing him and how far he’s came….he’s amazing. He’s touched a lot of people.”
Shanikua Yarbrough and Michael Coleman call their daughter, who is also in the NICU, a miracle baby.
“My placenta wasn’t giving her enough nutrients and vitamins for her to survive in my belly. So they had to take her out.” Shanikua Yarbrough says.
St. Bernards Medical Center partners with the March of Dimes and other non-profits to provide the families with food, personalized blankets and a visit from Santa for their first Christmas in the hospital.
Dana Lands is St. Bernards NICU Nursing Director. She says “the length of stay for a NICU baby is sometimes up to six to eight weeks. So our goal here is to get moms as close to the bedside as we can. And we want them to not have to leave, anymore than they have to. We have ventilator support. We have IV’s, central medications, and all kinds of equipment that are needed to take care of these babies.”
Shanikua and Michael are hopeful they’ll bring their baby girl home before the new year.
“She’s breathing on her own…she started off with oxygen,” gushes Michael Coleman, with excitement. “Now she’s feeding on two bottles. She’s come a long way.”
St. Bernards’ NICU provides care for babies as young as 22 weeks old. On average, staff see around twenty-eight babies in the span of a month.