UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine and Walk-In Care - Peosta

8456 Commercial Ct
PO Box 80
Peosta, IA 52068

Closed Patients
Waiting Now

UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - West

2255 John F Kennedy Road
Dubuque, IA 52002

01 Patients
Waiting Now

'Beyond Every Expectation:' NICU Mom Thankful for Care Close to Home

by -

Arlo Howard was a NICU graduate at UnityPoint Health - Finley Hospital.

When Kellie Drury was pregnant, she was diagnosed with Placenta Previa – or bleeding during pregnancy. 

That diagnosis led to her baby boy, Arlo, being delivered via emergency C-Section at 33 weeks by Dr. Sarah Hirsch of Dubuque Obstetrics and Gynecology, P.C. 

With Arlo being born seven weeks early, he needed some extra neonatal care, which he received right here in Dubuque in Finley’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Having a NICU in Dubuque made it easier for Kellie, already a mom to 10-year-old Levi, to balance being at home and spending time in the Family Birthing Suites. 

“There was talk right away that since he was only 33 weeks, typically Dubuque can’t keep him here and that he might have to be transferred to Cedar Rapids or Iowa City,” Kellie said. “Having him right here was just beyond every expectation. It gave me the chance to continue being a mom at home and being a mom to our new baby in the hospital.” 

James holding baby Arlo

As part of Arlo’s journey in the NICU, Kellie and her husband, James, participated in Care Conferences with several members of Arlo’s care team. 

The Care Conferences enabled James and Kellie to hear from neonatal nurse practitioners, nurses, therapists and the unit manager on how Arlo’s care was progressing and any necessary changes to his care plan. It also provided the couple a chance to ask Arlo’s care team any questions. 

“It was really awesome to have all of these professionals who know what they are doing with Arlo’s care,” Kellie said. “They explained what they saw with Arlo and where they wanted to go with his care. These people were so calm and reassuring for all of the questions we had.” 

Throughout Arlo’s stay at Finley Hospital, he achieved many growth milestones. Kellie remembers when he finished his first full bottle during the night with one of the nurses. The next morning, she walked into the unit, surprised to see a sign celebrating one of Arlo’s milestones. 

Baby Arlo celebrating a milestone

“He took his first full bottle with the nurses,” Kellie said. “I came in the next day and there was a sign celebrating him – that was just really awesome. The nurses were just as excited as us parents to reach these milestones.”

While Kellie visited Arlo every day in the hospital, she found it comforting that the Family Birthing Suites unit was equipped with nesting rooms for her to use throughout her visit. 

The nesting rooms are free of charge to the patients and provide a special space for them to relax and care for their baby, while they continue to be cared for in the hospital. 

In addition, Kellie felt like she was being cared for by the Family Birthing Suites nurses, even after she was discharged. 

“I still felt like I had my own nurse taking care of me, but it was Arlo that was in the hospital,” Kellie said. “Every time I used the nurse call button, I had someone that was there to help me. It was great to feel like we were still important, while we waited for our baby to grow. They were really concerned and cared every moment we were there.” 

Arlo heading home

After spending three weeks in the NICU, Arlo was ready to go home. 

While Arlo’s care at Finley Hospital may have come to an end, the support Kellie received from the Family Birthing Suites continued as the family transitioned to welcome their little one home. 

“I knew that he was where he needed to be to go home,” Kellie said. “They made sure we were comfortable with that. They told us we could always call them, even if it was a silly question – they didn’t care and continued to be there for us. We felt completely supported.”

Throughout the family’s journey in the NICU, Kellie was thankful for the staff in the Family Birthing Suites. 

No matter what she needed or had questions about, she felt she could count on her nurses to be there. 

“I always felt like I had a shoulder to cry on,” Kellie said. “I had a meltdown before we brought Arlo home and one of the nurses sat down with me and talked to me about her personal experiences with her kids. Everyone was just so caring and accepting. No one was annoyed or judgmental – that was probably the best feeling – being welcomed.”

Kellie holding Arlo with James

By the time the Drury family’s journey in the Family Birthing Suites came to an end, it was like they were part of the Family Birthing Suites family.

“We just felt like we were part of the family, because the staff was so supportive,” Kellie said. “It was never an inconvenience to be a worried parent. We felt so important and special, and it was all because of this little guy.”