BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — After 18 months of planning, Akron Childrens’ Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit officially moved from St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown to the new campus on Market Street in Boardman.
The multi-million dollar project gives each baby a private room, which hospital staff said reduces the risk of infection and helps increase breast-milk production in women. It also allows for families to stay with their babies for however long they want.
A dozen babies made the move on Monday, including 6-day-old Nathaniel Jack Watson, who was wearing a “precious cargo” onesie.
“I was super nervous, you know, thinking ‘oh my gosh, what if something happens?’ But I drove behind the ambulance the whole time, just making sure he got here safely,” said Nathaniel’s mom, Rebecca Watson.
Nathaniel was born weighing just 4 pounds, 12 ounces. But his small size isn’t what sent him to the NICU.
“He had some issues at first with his sugar, and some blood pressure and some other things. And it started off with an IV, and then there was a feeding tube, and then there was this monitor and that monitor, but he’s been in good hands the whole time,” said Nathaniel’s father, Brian Brunk.
Nathaniel is doing great, but his parents will not be getting too comfortable at the new unit because they are hoping to bring him home by the end of the week.