Baby Joziah Pinon went home on Aug. 14, after 100 days in St. Luke’s Magic Valley’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
On that last day, NICU nurses threw Joziah a surprise party with gifts, a cake and party hats. “Happy 100 days,” they said as they entered his room.
“I’m taking my baby home after 100 days,” said Jana Lemke, his mother. “I’m very excited. It’s scary to know what he has been through.”
The journey to go home hasn’t been easy.
“It’s been pretty crazy,” Lemke said. “From the day he was born, we came in on an ambulance. He was eight-weeks early. He was breach and born 6 minutes after being in the ER. He was air-lifted out to Boise and then brought back and almost discharged six or seven times.”
The average length of stay in St. Luke’s Magic Valley’s NICU is currently 10.4 days.
During his 100-day stay, Joziah made quite the impression on St. Luke’s staff.
“Due to the fact that he was an older baby in the NICU, he was frequently seen cruising the NICU in his stroller and had become quite the social bug while in our unit,” said Janice Preuit, Clinical Supervisor/Educator for St. Luke’s Magic Valley NICU and Women and Children. “Our staff had the opportunity and pleasure to work with an infant who needed more developmental play and socialization.”
Why the prolonged visit in the NICU for Joziah? He was born with Neonatal Graves’ disease.
Neonatal Graves’ disease is hyperthyroidism that happens in a small percentage of infants born to mothers with Graves’ disease. The infant develops Graves’ disease when the mother's antibodies cross the placenta and into the infant's circulation.
Some signs and symptoms of Graves’ disease in a neonate are goiter, increased heart rate (tachycardia), irritability, jitteriness, restlessness, and significant weight loss. Neonatal Graves’ disease can be severe and life threatening. Many of these infants will be developmentally delayed due to the impact of hyperthyroidism on the brain.
Caring for this tiny patient is a big job.
Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, St. Luke’s Health System NICU teams are dedicated to the delicate physical, emotional, and developmental needs of premature and severely ill infants.
It’s that dedication that lead to this milestone of going home for baby Joziah.
And, for his mother, August 14, 2015 is a day that she’ll never forget. It’s the date that her family was able to finally begin their journey together at home.
Michelle Bartlome is the public relations manager at St. Luke's Magic Valley.