The NICU journey of preemie Magnus (Gus) George Brekke born Feb. 26, 2006 at 8:18pm. He weighed 1 lb 12.25 oz and was 13.5 inches long at 25 weeks of gestation.
Ninety-two days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. What follows is a brief photo essay cultivated from a daily blog maintained during Gus’ hospital stay – biggusworld.blogspot.com.
As the parent of a preemie, and as the one documenting his stay from a photojournalistic viewpoint, it was important for me to doing this “work” during Gus’ hospitalization. It enabled me to process visually and verbally what was a very difficult time.
Gus is now almost six and is a perfectly healthy and precocious little boy. (I’m pre-dating this essay to 2006 so it falls in sequence with other projects.) His growth and recovery from some very serious conditions due to prematurity are nothing short of miracles.
Nurse Susie is on the scene when Gus is delivered via Cesarean Section and hustled through a special door in the delivery room directly into the NICU. Within minutes Gus has a respirator line, two IV ports, and various
Jill reaches her hand through for her first touch of Gus’ hand. His skin looks so dark because it is very thin – translucent.
Gus beginning to drink expressed breast milk through a gravity feed into his stomach on May 4. Most preemies lack the ability to drink from a bottle until they are at the equivalent of 30-35 weeks gestation.
Gus moved out of the isolette and into a regular crib on May 12. Nurse Susie made Gus a special poster for inside his crib with pictures of his special day and notes saying “Gus is 5 pounds AND in a crib today – 74 days old.”
Gus’ last day at the NICU, just before being discharged. Nurses Penny (left) and Susie (right) were his primary caregivers and his great recovery is, in large part, due to the professionalism, love and care they showed him.