New moms plan to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital

New moms plan to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital

Posted:
"She's just a blessing. She's a gift from God," said new mom Jessica Ross. "She's just a blessing. She's a gift from God," said new mom Jessica Ross.
"She's one of the happiest babies you'd ever meet. Awesome personality. Into everything," said Bri Pitts, McKenzie's mother. "She's one of the happiest babies you'd ever meet. Awesome personality. Into everything," said Bri Pitts, McKenzie's mother.

By LORI TUCKER
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends, but how do families with babies in the hospital spend the day?

East Tennessee Children's Hospital expects between 40 and 45 babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will not be going home for the holidays.

Jessica Ross is getting a rare treat, though, for which she is thankful. She is getting the chance to bond with her baby Kamdyn through what Children's Hospital calls, "kangaroo care" for pre-term babies.

Ross, while holding her tiny baby pressed against her heart, said, "It's skin to skin. She gets to lay on my chest with just her diaper on and that's pretty amazing."

It's also "pretty amazing" that Kamdyn is even here. She was born close to Halloween, at just under 24 weeks' gestation.

Ross' due date wasn't even until Valentine's Day 2013.

The delicate little girl who weighed only 1 lb, 2.5 oz at birth, has already had one major surgery to repair a leaky heart valve.

Now, her biggest issue is getting her lungs to mature enough to get her off the ventilator.

"She's a fighter, and she's a feisty young lady," said Ross proudly.

The new mom is thankful for each day she has with her baby.

"She's just a blessing. She's a gift from God," she said.

One of Kamdyn's so-called "NICU Neighbors" is 8-month-old Makenzie, who has been at the facility practically since birth.

She looks and acts like the picture of health, an active baby who always has a smile on her face.

"She's one of the happiest babies you'd ever meet. Awesome personality. Into everything," said Bri Pitts, Makenzie's mother.

But when you look closer, you'll see all of the tubes and lines Makenzie must live with.

That's primarily because she cannot eat like other babies her age. She must be tube-fed.

Makenzie was born with a condition known as gastroschisis. She was born with her intestines on the outside of her body.

So far, Makenzie has had seven surgeries.

Mom is anxious to take her daughter home. It won't be by Thanksgiving, but hopefully, it will be soon.

"It's kinda hard," said Pitts. "I mean, we were hoping she'd be home by my birthday, or her dad's birthday. Mine's in June, and her dad's is in October, so we passed those. Our personal goal is Christmas but it all depends on her and how everything goes."

These are two babies, two different stories, and mothers who share a common bond of gratitude.

"I think it's actually humbled us a lot. I'm only 23 years old, a lot of young years to go through, but she's definitely been a blessing," said Pitts.

"I just hope that she's healthy and happy and she'll be loved by many, and she has a great testimony to share with others, about the great miracles that have happened in her life," said Ross.

Ross is expecting about 20 relatives to join her and her husband to celebrate Thanksgiving at the Ronald McDonald House, followed by a visit to the NICU.

Pitts said it's quite likely she'll spend a quiet Thanksgiving with her daughter and the nurses and doctors they've come to know as family.

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