First Birthday Party

Baby Connor traveled from Seattle, Washington to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for a first birthday celebration with the clinical team who spent two months looking after him in the Intensive Care Nursey (ICN).

Connor’s parents, Jolene and Craig, were staying at a local hotel for a cousin’s wedding in September of 2016. When Jolene, only 29 weeks along in her pregnancy, began experiencing contractions, hotel staff directed her to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. By the time Jolene and Craig arrived at the emergency room, Jolene was in full labor.

Nurse, Debbie Reuss, who attended the birthday party recalled being in the delivery room with Connor’s parents, “I remember the shock on their faces—that they just had a baby. They were like ‘we just came here for a wedding, and now we have a baby.’”

Jolene recalled that during Connor’s 59-day stay at Jefferson, she “couldn’t believe how coordinated the care was. The nurses helped find us places to eat and stay—they took care of us as much as our son Connor.” In addition, the staff strategized with the family for weeks about how to safely get Connor home to Seattle. In the end, Connor, Craig and Jolene took a cross-country train ride. They first drove from Philadelphia to Washington, DC, and then took a three-day train trip from DC to Chicago, and then Chicago to Seattle.

When Connor returned to Jefferson for his first birthday last month, the nurses and doctors who remembered him and his family showered them with affection and Philadelphia and train-themed gifts to welcome Connor home.

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