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Families With Triplets Form Bond at Danbury Hospital

Thursday, October 21, 2010 - Danbury, CT

Moms with high-risk pregnancies find expertise and compassion

As the mother of triplets born within days of each other at Danbury Hospital, Jennifer DiLorenzo and Amy Geoghegan have learned that friendships can flourish even in the most unlikely places such as the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The two sets of triplets – Jared (4 lb. 10 oz), Gemma (3 lb. 11oz.) and Ariella (2 lb. 15 oz) DiLorenzo and John (3 lb. 6 oz.), Edward (3 lb. 12 oz.) and Keri (3 lb. 6 oz.) Geoghegan – spent the first critical weeks of their lives in Danbury Hospital’s NICU with round-the-clock care. Today the babies are happy and thriving as the two families juggle the demands of raising triplets.

“I think we have the makings of a future reality show!” joked Geoghegan of the special circumstances that brought the two Danbury families together at Danbury Hospital.

Making lifelong bonds

But it was no joking matter a few months ago when the two families spent every possible moment in the NICU with their babies. They survived the trying time thanks to support from family and friends along with the skill and compassion of the obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine specialists who managed their high-risk pregnancies and the neonatologists and neonatal nurses who cared for their fragile newborns.

“Leaving my babies in the NICU after giving birth was difficult,” said DiLorenzo. “But knowing they were in such good hands with the doctors and nurses at Danbury Hospital made the experience a little easier.”

It’s a family affair

With a program nationally ranked in the top 5 percent for excellence in women’s health and a Level IIIB neonatal intensive care unit, Danbury Hospital offers a higher level of care to women and their families throughout Connecticut and New York. Women and children have access to a comprehensive range of evidence-based services including obstetric, gynecologic, maternal-fetal medicine, neonatal and pediatric care. More than 2,100 babies are born at Danbury Hospital each year.

Multidisciplinary team, coordinated care

A multidisciplinary team of specialists who can mobilize at a moment’s notice are on hand round-the-clock to assist women and newborns. The experts include obstetricians, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, neonatologists, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, physician assistants, lactation specialists and nurses certified in their specialties. Anesthesiologists and board-certified attending physicians are available in labor and delivery 24 hours a day to respond to patient needs.

“Danbury Hospital is a valuable community resource,” said C. Bruce LaMonica, MD, an obstetrician with Physicians for Women in Danbury who delivered the DiLorenzo and Geoghegan triplets. “A safe pregnancy and birth – whether it’s triplets, twins or a single baby – requires an enormous amount of expertise and collaboration among many disciplines along with access to a state-of-the-art facility. We have all of that right here at Danbury Hospital.”

Focus on maternal-fetal health, high-risk pregnancies

Women seeking pre-conception counseling or needing help managing high-risk pregnancies can turn to the hospital’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine Department. Both Geoghegan and DiLorenzo said they were fortunate to receive such high-quality maternal-fetal medicine services close to home. The two women were considered to have high-risk pregnancies because they were carrying multiple babies. Their pregnancies were monitored and followed closely by Gouyang Luo, MD, Director of Prenatal Diagnosis at Danbury Hospital, who kept the medical team apprised about maternal-fetal health issues.

“Danbury Hospital is committed to delivering a higher level of clinical excellence and safety in maternal-fetal care and high risk pregnancies to women and their families,” said Matthew Kim, MD, Division Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Medical Director of Labor and Delivering at Danbury Hospital. “People want to know more about their babies before they give birth. Danbury Hospital provides the full scope of maternal-fetal medicine services you would usually find at a university medical center.”

Maternal-fetal medicine services are available both on an outpatient and inpatient basis. An antepartum suite accommodates women who must stay at the hospital – often for weeks – for observation and monitoring before delivery. Tests include pre-conception counseling, genetic testing, amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling (CVS), advanced fetal ultrasound (three- and four-dimensional), fetal echocardiogram and much more. “Our job as a medical community of physicians and nurses is to protect the wellbeing of mothers and their babies,” said Dr. Kim.

Specialized, compassionate nursing care

Danbury Hospital’s nurses are certified, experienced and capable of handling the medical and emotional needs of women, especially those with high-risk pregnancies, said Mary Zajc, RNC, MSN, director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Danbury Hospital. “It can be psychologically taxing for women to spend weeks at the hospital away from home,” she said. “We do our best to individually tailor patient care and respect their need for privacy.”

Advanced neonatal care close to home

The Level IIIB neonatal intensive care unit can treat newborns as young as 23 weeks. With a state-of-the-art NICU in the community, there’s little need to transfer sick or premature newborns who require specialized care to a distant medical facility. Plans are underway to construct a new $8 million NICU with private patient rooms to accommodate newborns and family members.

“Having parents travel great distances to see their babies makes an already stressful situation worse, especially when we know that babies can reap huge benefits by having parents close by,” said Edward James, MD, medical director of the NICU. “Our team takes a family-centered approach that encourages parents to be active participants in the care of their babies. Our goal is to make sure the entire family is well cared for.”

An early birthday present

Geoghegan spent a month at Danbury Hospital for observation and monitoring after developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure). She thought the babies would arrive close to her 40th birthday. But the triplets “had their own agenda” and were born at 32 weeks. Geoghegan said she was particularly impressed with the nursing staff which noticed a subtle change in her son’s behavior, alerting caregivers of a potential problem. “They immediately started tests and discovered a condition that could have developed into something more serious,” she said. “They were able to treat him with antibiotics rather than surgery.” All three babies came home after 37 days. “The staff at Danbury Hospital was amazing.”

Home for Father’s Day

The DiLorenzo triplets were born just shy of 34 weeks. DiLorenzo underwent an emergency Cesarean section after an ultrasound conducted by Dr. Luo revealed restricted blood flow to one of the babies. “We had to deliver then or risk losing the baby,” she said. The experience would have been more traumatic if DiLorenzo hadn’t toured the NICU and met the neonatologists beforehand. “I knew what to expect so it wasn’t as scary,” she said. Jared and Gemma spent 18 days in the NICU; Ariella stayed 27 days. They were all home in time for Father’s Day. “It was the best,” she said.

Having another parent with triplets in the NICU at the same time was a bonus. “It was nice to be able to talk with someone who was experiencing the same thing,” said DiLorenzo.

These days, both families are busy adjusting to their new lives. Future plans include getting the two sets of triplets together. Said DiLorenzo: “That will be an interesting play date!”

About Danbury Hospital

Danbury Hospital is a 371-bed regional medical center and university teaching hospital associated with the University of Vermont College of Medicine, the Yale University School of Medicine, the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. The hospital provides centers of excellence in cardiovascular services, cancer, weight loss surgery, orthopedics, digestive disorders, radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for sleep disorders and asthma management and is nationally recognized for providing a high level of care to Women by HealthGrades®. Medical staff members are board-certified in their specialties, and most serve on the faculty of the nation’s finest medical centers offering a higher level of experience

Danbury Hospital Women's and Children's Services is committed to the unique health needs of women and children. With a program nationally ranked in the Top 5% for excellence in Women's Health, Danbury Hospital is one of two hospitals in the state with a Level IIIb Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) that include highly-skilled nursing staff, neonatologists and the most technologically advanced equipment that offers a higher level of special care and treatment to newborns and reassurance to the women and their families of our region.