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A patient room in the Allison Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, Bridgeport campus.

Care enhancements for Bridgeport Hospital's youngest patients

Natasha Parker, 32, of Stratford, was stunned when she found out she was having twins.

“I went for my 10-week appointment to confirm the pregnancy and during the ultrasound they said that there were two babies,” recalled Parker. “I was surprised.” 

Unfortunately, this pregnancy proved more difficult than her previous singleton ones. When Parker experienced anemia and pre-term labor 26 weeks into the pregnancy, she was put on complete bed rest. At week 30, she felt contractions. At that point, her physician told her to go to Bridgeport Hospital.

On January 25, fraternal twins Jesaiah and Jenesis Parker were born at three pounds, four ounces and three pounds, zero ounces, respectively, via caesarian section. The newborns were transferred to the newly opened Allison Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital’s (YNHCH) Bridgeport campus, where they were among the first patients to experience the specialized unit.

“In my 42 years at Bridgeport Hospital, the work we do in the NICU is incredibly gratifying,” said Robert Herzlinger, MD, director of Neonatology for YNHCH at Bridgeport. “The new nursery is clearly something that will improve the quality of care given to patients and their families.”

When Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital set out to modernize the NICU, leadership looked to best practices and design from across the United States to create the ideal environment for infants and their families.

“We aimed to provide families with the best surroundings to match the high-quality care they were used to at YNHCH Bridgeport campus,” said Harris Jacobs, MD, chief of Pediatrics, YNHCH, Bridgeport campus. “The larger patient spaces, experienced by the Parker family, added privacy and a calm, quiet environment.”

“We know families are not visitors. They are important components of care,” continued Dr. Herzlinger.

Parker felt welcomed and comfortable, thanks to the NICU staff. “When I learned they were going to the NICU, I was a ball of tears,” she said. “I was exhausted and nervous. The nurses and doctors did a great job checking on me and explaining each test they ran. I knew the whole time what was happening with my babies.”

The Allison Family NICU cares for 500 infants a year. Funded entirely by philanthropy, the unit has 10 private and eight semi-private rooms. Softer lighting and noise-reduction measures create a calmer, more healing environment to promote babies’ development. A new central nurses’ station allows for easier, comprehensive monitoring, which helps staff identify and quickly respond to the needs of infants. Other additions include a medication preparation room and a formula and breast milk preparation room.

After spending a few weeks in the NICU, Jesaiah and Jenesis are now thriving at home. Jesaiah now weighs over six pounds and Jenesis is close to the six-pound mark. 

“I was excited that the babies were here, but I was so nervous,” said Parker. “But the doctors and nurses reassured me that everything would be OK. It was a very positive experience.” 

Visit the Bridgeport Hospital website for a virtual tour of the Allison Family NICU.