Spring 2014 George’s story—big joy arrives in a tiny package Born weighing only 4 pounds, 6 ounces and 18.5 inches long, he was the size of a little butternut squash, his mom says. Thankfully, the Ridgeview nursing staff was able to swoop George into Ridgeview Medical Center’s Neonatal Care Unit (NCU) for the specialized monitoring and care a fragile preemie like him needed. Dr. Amy Meath, Lakeview Clinic, Ltd. said the Krienke family represents how valuable the NCU is to Ridgeview. Instead of transferring downtown for the expertise and hassle that comes with it, Ridgeview’s NCU can care for babies as early as 32 weeks—and keep families close to home. The Krienkes, from Carver, were able to do just that, but the road to get there wasn’t easy. Alexis and her husband, Jeremy, planned to start a family right away. After trying unsuccessfully, they turned to in vitro fertilization.Unfortunately, Alexis had a rare reaction to the injectable hormone medication and developed ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Her ovaries became swollen and painful. Meet baby George, “the golden boy,” his family calls him. He was one of 24 eggs and the only one destined to be a Krienke. “We only had one shot,” his mom, Alexis, says. “He was so determined and strong to be that one—he was meant to be here.” When news of the “golden egg” came, the window of opportunity was short. Alexis made it through, and the Krienkes became pregnant 10 days later. Amidst their joy, more challenge followed. Alexis developed a subchorionic hemorrhage and gestational diabetes. She went on bed rest for months and couldn’t move or, sadly, she says, eat what she loved. “I felt so bad for her,” Jeremy says. “It was a long road that most pregnant women thankfully don’t have to experience.” The road to Ridgeview … in the nick of time Speaking of long roads, who knew Jeremy would need to unexpectedly trek from his South Dakota hunting trip to Ridgeview Medical Center for George’s birth— two months before George’s due date. Alexis frantically called and said, “You’d better hurry!” Worry hit: a premature baby, the unknowns that come with it and would Jeremy make it home for his son’s arrival? In the nick of time he did. “I didn’t even get to enjoy the luxurious birthing rooms at Ridgeview,” Jeremy kids. “But we were so happy we heard George cry the second he came out.” The NCU became the Krienkes’ second home for five weeks. They stayed nights at home but days at Ridgeview, learning and preparing for George’s fragile transfer home. Alexis and Jeremy expressed how hard it is to live outside the hospital when your baby is in the hospital—the reason they appreciated Ridgeview’s CribNotes, personalized email updates on George and his progress. Knowledge and expertise make all the difference “Our nurses, Kim and Celia and Sharon, were amazing and so was our lactation specialist, Julie,” Alexis says. “Their expertise and knowledge, not to mention the benefit of having the NCU in our own backyard, meant everything.” Before George left the NCU, nurse Sharon came to say good-bye on her day off. “Such a Ridgeview touch,” the Krienkes say. It was a happy good-bye for all. George is now busting through clothes and doing phenomenally well while his family anxiously awaits the “golden boy’s” first birthday. After all, there’s so much to celebrate. Developed and operated in collaboration with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Ridgeview Medical Center’s Neonatal Care Unit cares for the most fragile of infants. For more information, visit www.ridgeviewmedical.org or call 952-442-2191.