When Aniesha Boatwright needed an emergency C-section at just 25 weeks pregnant, she knew Regional One Health was the right place to be for both her and her baby.
Aniesha herself was a Regional One Health NICU baby, and she was confident her little girl would receive the best care possible from the caring doctors and nurses at the Sheldon B. Korones Newborn Center.
Regional One Health is also the region’s leader in caring for complex pregnancy complications, making it a source of exceptional care for both moms and babies.
When Regional One Health doctors told Aniesha Boatwright she needed an emergency C-section at just 25 weeks pregnant and would be the mom of a micro-preemie, she felt the same shock and fear anyone would experience.
But she also felt something else: a sense of hope and optimism borne of her own life experience.
“I told them, ‘I was a micro-preemie baby here, too,’” Aniesha said. “I was born at Regional One Health at 1 pound 6 ounces. So, I know God works some miracles!”
She also knew her newborn would be in excellent hands. The Sheldon B. Korones Center NICU opened in 1968 based on the ideal that every baby deserves a healthy start in life. With support from Regional One Health Foundation donors who fund training, technology, and other crucial resources, over the years it has provided lifesaving care for over 50,000 babies in the Mid-South.
Aniesha can happily count herself and her daughter Adoria among them. “I am so thankful for my experience,” she said. “They always gave me a lot of information about what was happening and what might happen, and they have a lot of love to give!”
Aniesha didn’t know she was pregnant when she suffered a medical emergency in November 2021. “I didn’t have any symptoms – I had my cycle, and everything stayed the same,” she said.
She was getting ready to go out of town one Friday when she suffered a seizure. “My husband thought I was having a stroke, because I couldn’t see anything,” she said. “My eyes rolled back and I started convulsing.”
Paramedics took her to the nearest emergency room, and doctors ran a blood test. When it came back showing Aniesha was pregnant, they suspected her seizures were caused by preeclampsia, dangerously high blood pressure that can occur during pregnancy.
They transferred her to Regional One Health, which has the unique expertise and resources to care both for patients with serious pregnancy complications and premature infants.
As Aniesha and her equally shocked husband got used to the idea that their older daughter, Artemis, would soon be joined by a little sister, doctors scheduled Aniesha for a C-section and prepared for the fact that her baby would need NICU care.
Aniesha was kept calm by her naturally positive spirit and the fact that she’d been there before… albeit as the baby rather than the mom.
“My mom said it felt like deja vu!” she laughed. “She told me, ‘I had you at this same hospital and you were 1 pound, 6 ounces.’”
It gave Aniesha faith that her baby girl could also grow up healthy and strong.
Her C-section went smoothly, and Adoria, weighing 1 pound, 11 ounces, was working hard to breathe on her own. Ultimately, doctors had to intubate her and put her on a C-pap, and the family prepared for their NICU stay.
The ensuing weeks were tough.
As Aniesha healed from her C-section, she couldn’t drive. With her husband at work and their other young child at home, she had to rely on calling the NICU to hear about Adoria’s progress.
The nurses were always happy to talk, giving her updates and stories and even guiding her on the questions to ask about her daughter’s care.
“I just rolled with the punches – that’s all I could do!” Aniesha said. “She was in the NICU for exactly eight weeks. She came home the day before my maternity leave was over!”
A year later, things are going great. “She’s doing really good. She’s making strides and catching up. She’s been staring at her big sister since she came home!” Aniesha laughed.
She has no doubt Adoria will continue to thrive. “I tell everyone that when I was a baby, I ran before I walked. That’s the thing with premature babies – they do things on their own time!”
Of course, that’s not the only thing Aniesha would like people to know about NICU babies and NICU moms, of which she can now proudly say she is both.
“We’re strong, mighty and resilient,” she said. “No matter what the circumstance or diagnosis, the parents and the babies have to be strong for each other.”
Aniesha says the support she received at Regional One Health helped her do just that. “You have to be encouraging no matter the situation,” she said. “It takes dedication and an understanding that things may not go your way, but that things will get better. There’s always a tomorrow.”