HOUSTON (KTRK) --It can be stressful for any parent when their newborn has to stay in the hospital for a long period of time. But when those infants get to come home, mom and dad are truly grateful.
Erica Ardoin was due December 30, but things didn't go as planned.
"My water broke on November 23, so he was 34 weeks and 4 days," she said.
It was a challenging beginning for baby Bryson. Not only was he 3.7 pounds at birth, but he was born with a cleft lip and pallet, and had problems with his kidneys. Erica was concerned because he was earlier than anticipated.
"Texas Children's Hospital has one of the largest neonatal intensive care units in the country," Dr. Charleta Guillory said.
Dr. Guillory credits the NICU team for the important roles they play in every patient's care.
"For me, it's being here on a daily basis for all these years and seeing the people who are committed to taking care of these children. They give us their heart every day," Dr. Guillory said.
Equally crucial to a newborn's growth is parental participation. Having parents as part of the team is crucial to the care given to children.
Dr. Guillory says it's extremely important to educate parents on specific needs, before their baby goes home.
"One of the things we do is work with educating the mother," Dr. Guillory said. "So not only is she at the bedside, but she's taking classes. She's taking classes on CPR, car seat education. We're making sure that she knows how to feed baby Bryson through the G tube."
It was a process mom had to learn, to ensure Bryson gets the nutrition he needs. She usually gets to the hospital a little before noon because he feeds every three hours. She doesn't leave until 7:30pm.
"The faster he takes foods orally, the faster that G tube can come out," Erica told us.
The family lives 45 minutes from the hospital, so the daily commute has been stressful. But now that baby Bryson is over 5 pounds, he gets to go home this week. From here, an anticipated 18 months of corrective facial surgery lies ahead. But the family is taking it one day at a time.
"We're excited just to be going home. It's definitely a blessing. God's graces have definitely been with us the whole way," Ardoin said.