When Melissa VanStraten of De Pere went to her 27-week check up with her Prevea obstetrician, Dr. Erich Metzler, she was told if she ever needed anything after hours to just call… but she didn’t think she would end up needing to. Later that night; however, Melissa’s water broke and she knew just what to do.
The next day, on Aug. 9, 2013, Melissa delivered her son, Nolan, at 27 weeks, 4 days gestation and he was 2 lbs, 3.3 oz. Nolan’s early beginning led to 95 days spent in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital.
“We would visit him in the morning; visit him in the afternoon; sometimes all day. They always filled us in on his progress and how he was doing,” remembers Melissa about Nolan’s time in the NICU. “They were very encouraging and wanted us to interact with him as much as possible.”
Having the NICU so close to home gave Melissa and her husband, Ryan, the opportunity to visit Nolan as often as they could. Not knowing they would need it, the fact that HSHS St. Vincent Hospital had a NICU was something that was important to them when choosing which hospital to deliver at.
Nolan went home on Nov. 12, 2013 – his “homecoming” day. Now, every year on Nov. 12, Melissa, Ryan and Nolan celebrate that day - in addition to his birthday - with family and cake.
"Thank you for working endlessly to save my son’s life; Thank you for giving my son the best start to life as possible; Thank you for treating my son as if he were your own, and as if he were your only patient; Thank you for your empathy and patience; Thank you for empowering me as a parent, and for always keeping me informed; Thank you for being by my son’s side, when I could not be; Thank you for allowing me to be part of your team” Melissa VanStraten.