If your brand new baby has to spend his first days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, you want a positive distraction to mark the milestones. Avera McKennan and the March of Dimes does that. We introduce you to a brand new baby from Sioux Falls who braved a tough birth and has the bravery beads to prove it.
The saying "beautiful bouncing baby boy" really applies to Jack Adler. Bouncing is his favorite thing to do. Mom Brooke and Dad Jeff are more than happy to oblige, especially after what he's been through in his first 3 weeks of life.
Brooke tells us, "Jack was a full term baby, but he had a really tough delivery. He had pneumothorax or air pockets on the outside of his lungs. A couple days later they thought he had pneumonia and had to spend 7 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. They don't really know what causes it but they think a tough delivery can cause it. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his foot. His heart rate was dropping and they had to get him out right away. They had to bag him. It was really hard. The room went from 4 doctors to 13 doctors. I had to focus because I knew if I got upset it would only make the situation worse."
A stressful birth led to a trying first week for the first time parents.They spent every day for 7 days in the NICU with Jack.
"We would leave at 10:00 at night and be right back at 7:00 in the morning. I was a wreck." Brooke said.
An emotional roller coaster to say the least. To celebrate the ups and remember the downs, the March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program hands out bravery beads. Every time the baby has a procedure, hits a milestone or event the nurse adds a bead to his memory necklace.
Brooke says, "This is a way to tell Jack's story when he's older and to share with people that this is everything he went through. Every procedure, every milestone, and we are very proud of him of how hard everything was that he went through."
Jack has 24 beads on his keepsake necklace.They also send home a legend that explains what each bead means. The little black bear was the toughest for Brooke. It symbolizes Baby Jack's admission in to the NICU. The families get the bravery beads for free, but in the Avera McKennan Gift and Floral store they sell "Bravery Heart Jewelry" for other members of the family. 20% of the proceeds from that jewelry goes back to the Avera McKennan Foundation that helps fund the beads.
Brooke says, " I got one too to match his and show how much they mean to you.'
How is Jack doing now?
"Great." Brooke smiles and says, "He's doing great. He's not on any medicine. He's a good baby. Happy baby. He loves to eat. He loves to be home and we are happy to have him home."
And they are happy to share their journey home by showing off each bead for brave Baby Jack.
For for information on the Bravery Beads Program contact Avera McKennan's March of Dimes NICU Family Support Specialist (605) 322-4456