Transported from Watauga Medical Center, Olivia Grace is a beautiful example
of how our NICU helps save the tiniest patients, not only in our community
but in surrounding counties too. Read their family’s wonderful story
below, as first printed in the
Hickory Daily Record.
On the Adams’ way to a birthday party in late February driving through
Roan Mountain State Park, Tonya Adams had a placenta abruption. At first
she thought her water broke, but she started to bleed profusely.“We
were in the car, and I just felt a gush,” Tonya said.
Near the state park, the Adams had no cellphone reception to call emergency
personnel. They eventually called the Emergency Room, but had an hour
drive ahead of them.The closest hospital that could perform deliveries
was Watauga Medical Center in Boone.Tonya said by the time they arrived
at the hospital, “I was covered in blood: my hands, my legs, I mean
Placental abruption is when the placenta separates from the wall of the
uterus. This condition is very serious because the placenta is the supply
of food and oxygen for the baby in the womb according to the March of
Dimes. Three of her five children sat scared in the backseat of the car
not understanding what their mom was experiencing. “With every contraction
I would have, I would have a gush of blood,” Tonya said.
Dr. Camille Andrews and a team were waiting, prepared and ready to go,
when the Adams arrived. “I had never seen (Dr. Andrews),”
Tonya said. “She was a new face to us, brand new, but she was amazing
and did a really good job.”
Throughout the pregnancy, Tonya received prenatal care at Harmony Center
for Women’s health. The birthing center at this facility closed
so Tonya Adams had no other choice but Watauga. Tonya said she wasn’t
expecting to get to the hospital and have her baby. She thought they would
approach the problem, solve it, and release her.
Doctors took Tonya in for an ultrasound first. As a result, they knew the
baby was coming. A fright overcame Tonya with a new doctor and an unexpected delivery.
Olivia Grace Adams was born Feb. 28 through an emergency cesarean section,
weighing 2 pounds, 12 ounces.Her due date was scheduled for May 7, but
she was premature by 10 weeks. “I didn’t get to hold her or
anything, but we did hear her cry, which was definitely emotional just
to know she was alive,” Tonya said.
Olivia was immediately transported to the closest Level III Neonatal Intensive
Care Unit (NICU) at Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC) in Hickory, 45
minutes away, because she was premature and Watauga was not equipped to help.
“All I got to see is when as soon as she was born, they were wheeling
her out,” Tonya said. “(The doctor) stopped and turned her
head so I could just barely see her.”
Director of Respiratory Care Jimmy Phillips said the CVMC Level III NICU
expanded the capacity of service to the needs of the community. Babies
come here when they need a higher level of care. He said transport teams
of at least two, usually a nurse and a respiratory therapist, are put
in place when calls come in. They primarily provide 14 counties with this
service. The transport unit nurse is usually different from the nurse
taking the case in the hospital.
However, Nurse Rachel Wetz chose to continue with the Adams family from
the ambulance to the hospital room. Wetz said it is better to stay with
the family when possible because a connection made during the transport
goes a long way, and seeing a familiar face helps the family.
Not yet able to connect with her newborn child, Tonya had to stay at the
Watauga hospital for two days following the C-section. She said all of
her previous births were completely normal so this came as a shock. “It
was kind of an empty feeling because you know you’re not pregnant
any longer,” Tonya said. “She’s not in (the womb), but
she’s not with me.”
Brian Adams, the father, went directly to the NICU with Olivia Adams after
the birth. “When I came down here by myself, I was a little nervous
and didn’t have Tonya with me,” Brian said. “I’m
used to having her by my side.”
Tonya said she went directly to Olivia Adams once released. The Adams rented
an apartment 15 minutes away from the NICU because their residence is
in Elks Park. “It was hard, I think, for (the other children) because
of course they were thrown around staying with family and friends,”
Tonya said. Tonya and Brian visited their little girl twice a day during
the first few weeks. Since Brian returned to work in Boone, Tonya drove
from home everyday to visit Olivia.
Olivia will remain in the NICU until her bradycardia, also known as brady
episodes, stops occurring. She has to go seven days without an episode.
Tonya said the furthest Olivia Adams has gone without a brady is four
days, but each time one occurs, the countdown restarts.
Lori McNeely, Director of the Level III NICU and Level I Nursery and Pediatrics,
said bradycardia is when a premature baby is forgetting to breathe and
has a slower heart beat than normal. Caffeine is used to treat this condition
by helping the heart rate rise.
Tonya said everything else is on track, and Olivia Adams really progressed.
Tonya and Brian keep an eye on her milestones, such as rolling over or
sitting up. Since Olivia was born 10 weeks early, her milestones might
Olivia Adams’ siblings, Hailey Campbell, 15, Kailey Campbell, 12,
Isaiah Adams, 7, and Kiana Adams, 5, didn’t get to meet their little
sister until seven weeks after she was born. “So of course it kind
of seemed real that she actually exists instead of pictures and us telling
them about her,” Tonya said.
The children finally saw and touched their baby sister with their own eyes
and hands. Isaiah Adams gently grazed her cheek and kissed her forehead
She said each kid had names they wanted for the baby, but she liked ‘Olivia’
and it fit her too well. “It was all about a grace of God that she
is here with us,” Tonya said, so they made her middle name Grace.
She said this process has been overwhelming, but also a learning experience.
Family, friends, and everyone really pulled together for the Adams. “And
of course this is baby number five, and you’d think I’d be
a pro in this moment, but I have learned so much,” Tonya said.
Olivia Grace Adams is now 5 pounds, 10 ounces and is fighting each and
every day. “The experience of course here has been wonderful. They
definitely have a great staff,” Tonya said. “That has really
helped a lot knowing that she is in good hands.