AN UNEXPECTED SITUATION HOW SANFORD CHILDREN’S NICU CARED FOR TWINS WITH VERY DIFFERENT NEEDS Words by Erin Marie Heinert Photography provided by Feller family
er due date was October 14, 2014, but Lynze and Jeff Feller would meet their twin girls well before autumn arrived. They went to Lynze’s doctor’s office in Minot, North Dakota, for a routine ultrasound in August. It detected some fluid had built up around Baby B. As the staff looked into the severity of the situation, Lynze was told she could go home.
“I didn’t have a good feeling when we left,” remembered Lynze. “It was a little scary not knowing what was going on. But then we got the call to come back right away.” Lynze and Jeff drove back to the hospital where they learned their girls needed to be delivered as soon as possible. Their doctor said they would be taken by plane to Sanford Children’s in Fargo. When Lynze questioned if Mayo would be a better choice, their doctor said Sanford in Fargo is a great hospital and the extra time it would take to fly to Rochester is too risky. “We were scared, but trusted our doctors decision to send us to Fargo,” says Jeff. “So we went to Sanford Children’s and within an hour of arriving, Lynze was rushed in for an emergency C-section.” “When Baby B, who was Gabrielle, was born, she didn’t make any noise at all,” says Lynze. “They just rushed her out of the room. But when Hancee came out, I heard her cry for a split second and I knew that, for at least that moment, she was OK.”
Reality sets in Hancee was a typical preemie with issues that could be handled with time and treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit until she grew stronger. She would spend a total of 56 days in the hospital before being released. Gabrielle, however, was on the opposite spectrum of care needs. Gabrielle’s lung and heart functions were extremely poor. She had Down syndrome, leukemia and issues with most of her organs. She needed maximum support.