In late December, Clint and Kalli Bormann were anxiously expecting their first bundle of joy.
Seven weeks early, Brigham Clinton Bormann was welcomed into the world on December 30th, 2020 at 5 pounds, 1 ounce and 18 ½ inches long.
After an extended stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Finley Hospital and care provided by a multidisciplinary team, Brigham was able to go home on January 25th – a milestone that was unexpected, at first.
“I thought it would take a lot longer for Brigham to be ready to go home,” Kalli said. “A lot of the nursery staff were talking about a light bulb moment that little ones have when they are able to put everything together, like breathing and eating. It happened the day before we left the hospital, and we were all excited, nervous and overjoyed.”
During Brigham’s NICU journey, Clint and Kalli were included in their son’s care plans every step of the way. Care Conferences were conducted weekly with Clint and Kalli, Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNP), speech therapists, dietitians, physical therapists, Family Birthing Suites nurses and the Family Birthing Suites manager.
At the Care Conferences, the goal is to discuss the accomplishments and hurdles the baby has experienced so far and upcoming goals for the baby, short and long term. The conferences were also flexible to meet the family’s schedule and needs, especially since Clint is a farmer and meeting during the day wasn’t always possible.
“The Care Conference includes all members of the health care team that are involved in the baby’s care,” Jenni Scott, manager of the Family Birthing Suites, said. “These conferences help us all understand where we are at in the baby’s journey and get us all on the same page. Each member of the care team is a piece to the puzzle and communication with each other is key when caring for these little ones.”
Throughout his stay, Brigham was cared for by NNPs in the Family Birthing Suites. NNPs are providers with advanced training in caring for newborns and are prepared for many different situations that may arise before, during or after delivery.
Rylea Anderson, NNP, was one of those providers that cared for Brigham throughout his stay.
“Brigham was born about 7 weeks early and initially had some difficulty breathing,” Rylea said. “His biggest challenge during his stay was learning to eat. For most of his stay, he had a feeding tube from his nose to his belly that let us give him enough of his mother’s breastmilk to support his growth and development.”
The nurses caring for Brigham made sure to celebrate and share each achievement that Brigham made while in the hospital. Knowing his parents wouldn’t be able to get these first few weeks back, the staff wanted to make sure they created a sense of normalcy that all other families get to experience.
One of the biggest milestones Brigham achieved was eating his first full bottle on January 18th.
This accomplishment comes as a result of advanced care provided by the preemie feeding team, which at Finley Hospital, includes specialized nurses, a dietitian, speech therapists and pediatric physical therapists.
“A lot of the rapid brain growth happened during a period that allowed him to learn to eat at his own pace,” Rylea said. “Brigham learned quickly and was able to go home, while he was still three weeks early.”
Looking back at Brigham’s NICU journey, Kalli’s favorite parts include watching him grow and seeing him achieve every milestone that was laid out in his care plan.
Watching her baby check off milestones in growth development taught Kalli something she wishes to share with other moms who may be in her same situation as a NICU or first-time mom.
“Every milestone he made was up to him,” Kalli said. “You can pray and pray, but you can’t force them to do absolutely anything. As much as you sit here and wish for them to do something, it’s up to them. Patience is hard, but that’s all you can have when you’re watching your baby go through this.”
Since Brigham was staying in the Finley NICU for quite some time, Clint and Kalli were able to meet many of the staff, in the hospital and the Family Birthing Suites unit.
Within the Family Birthing Suites unit, guesting rooms are made available to caregivers of a NICU baby, which they are welcomed to stay in as long as they’d like.
Throughout their journey, the team in the Family Birthing Suites unit recognized all of the emotions Kalli and Clint were experiencing and cared for the entire family. The staff was able to help Kalli realize that in order to give her son the best care, she would first have to take care of herself.
“The Finley NICU and Nursery staff is the most amazing,” Kalli said. “They weren’t only supportive of him, but also me as a new mom and making sure I was 100% comfortable. There were days when I walked in the door and was bawling, and it was great the staff took care of me, since Brigham was already cared for.”
At night, Kalli would leave the hospital without a worry in her mind about if her baby would be cared for.
“I was going home at night, since Brigham needed some good, quality sleep,” Kalli said. “Whenever I walked out of the door, I knew that he was literally loved. It wasn’t like I was just dropping him off somewhere, but I could tell everyone genuinely loved him.”
Clint and Kalli quickly became family with the team in the Family Birthing Suites – a feeling neither of them are going to forget.
“They are an extension of any family you could have taking care of your baby,” Kalli said. “We called some of the nurses aunties, because that’s what it felt like. They were excited to see him go through everything.”