A day in the life in the NICU

The joy of welcoming a baby into the world can be overshadowed if the infant is rushed away into a neonatal intensive care unit. In this Healthcast, we take you inside a the NICU at Women & Children's Hospital in Lake Charles to see a day in the life of a family living the roller coaster of emotions as their tiny baby boy fights to grow and thrive.

Samantha and Blake Cureton stop by the NICU several times a day to visit their three pound son, Carson. "We are able to hold him now, which is wonderful," said Samantha, "I'm sure it's good for him and mostly for me."

The Cureton's third child was born almost three months early. It was a scary time for this couple that has a four-year-old girl and tragically lost a second baby shortly after delivery. "I was extremely, extremely scared, worried, stressed that things were going to end up tragic again," said Samantha.

Those are feelings that Director of Children's Health, Sandy Mullin, says are common with parents that end up in the NICU. "There can be a sense of failure for parents in their minds that they have failed this pregnancy, they have failed this child as a result of that and most of the time they have done nothing wrong," she said.

It can be breathing problems, fever, infection or prematurity that can result in a baby's stay inside one of the isolettes with specially-trained nurses and technicians surrounding them. "Ventilators if they need them," said Mullin, "we can put IVs in or lines through the umbilical cord."

A baby's stay in the NICU can be as short as a couple of days or in some cases, last several months. It comes down to how early that child was born and the health problems he or she is facing.

The Curetons are hoping that Carson keeps growing stronger each day. "You're holding your breath the entire time," said Blake, "because it's an emotional roller coaster going through it."

Blake and Samantha say each day spent here with their son is a blessing and their long term goal is just getting him home. "Just to get him home and then I guess I'll take care of the rest from there," said Blake.

To set yourself up for the healthiest pregnancy, nix the smoking and drinking and have early and regular prenatal exams.

If you have ever had a baby in Women & Children's NICU, there will be a reunion for families with doctors and nurses Saturday, October 6th from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.. To register, call 475-4064.

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