Shawn Unger's Story
After having a pretty low key pregnancy for the most part, everything changed in just a day. I was placed on moderate bed rest at the end of my seventh month. I was bored out of my mind by the time I went to bed one night, but in just a few hours I woke to some a pain and it just didn't feel right. A quick run to GBMC to be checked out ended up with me being admitted.
I had never been admitted to a hospital, ever, even after numerous ER visits through my life. Now, something that wasn't causing pain or bleeding was going to change that. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. If I thought I had any control over my body during this pregnancy, I was sadly mistaken. This diagnosis just proved that point.
Very quickly, I was able to meet the amazing staff in GBMC’s high risk unit. As much as I didn't want to be there, I was made to feel as comfortable as possible. I started memorizing everyone's name because GBMC was going to get one heck of a letter when I came home. While in high risk, I can remember feeling completely helpless and pretty much losing it. My poor husband had no clue what to do, so he got a nurse. She sat with me, let me cry and cry, and never rushed me. She never made me feel like my questions were insane, and didn't leave my room until I was completely calmed down.
It had been less than 48 hours since my admission, and all I could think was that I needed to just get home and wait it out until I hit my due date. I'm not sure why, but even as I was being wheeled to Labor & Delivery, it never sunk in that I wasn't leaving until I had a baby.
L&D was in a whole different section of the hospital with different nurses and I was freaking out. My mother-in-law was on a flight to get to us, and my mother was in my room alongside my husband. My husband had to set up a mini office next to my bed because he's super busy, and this was unexpected. Even after meeting with a neonatologist, the severity was still not sinking in. I attribute this to the nurses. No one was ever hectic or stressed when they were with me. Everyone was calm and incredibly sweet, even after dealing with not only me, but also my family. I felt like I was the only patient.
GBMC’s staff members are super heroes. Again, I was memorizing names to add to my future thank you letter. I had now met over a dozen people and was in love with all of them. When the time came to have a baby, I was a total nut case. I was only eight months and two days along and thought, “This can't be happening.” My child birth class was supposed to be the following week, so I felt unprepared for what was about to happen.
Everyone was so calm. The nurses and doctors were amazing. While it was a totally scary experience, I can't say that it was bad because I had an amazing medical team. After one more day in L&D, I was moved to the postpartum unit. This was my third section of the hospital, and I still had not encountered a single person that I didn't want to hug. Due to many issues, I still had not personally met my new son. My hormones were running rampant, and now I was in pain from having a C-section. I can imagine I was not a peach to be around, but all of the staff members were as nice as could be. They were supportive, understanding – you name it.
I finally got to meet my son the following day, as well as NICU staff that will be in my heart for the rest of my life. The NICU started off being the scariest place in the world to me, and within moments I felt a sense of calm. The nurses and doctors in GBMC’s NICU are outstanding. Even typing that, I realize “outstanding” is an understatement. These amazing people, who were complete strangers to me, cared for my child, my family and me. The support they offered to us is immeasurable.
I came home four days later, but my son did not. He spent a total of 31 days in the NICU. And, while it was hard to leave him every time, I knew in my heart he was being taken care of by the best possible people. It's been almost four years, and I still think of the incredible people I met, certain things they said and the advice they gave. I did send that letter to GBMC once we were all home and settled. I've been to other hospitals and have never encountered the level of care and support I received at GBMC.
The staff at GBMC made such a huge impact on me I knew I had to become part of the team. With the help of social media, I have been able to stay in contact with people from the NICU team as well as work with a few in starting a NICU patent support group. I also started volunteering in the Labor & Delivery unit. I'm now on the other side, not a patient, and I can state for a fact, the employees at GBMC are a stellar group.