The WellSpan Spotlight

Bright spots

WellSpan BrightSpot: Thanks to the NICU, happy holidays, times 3

WellSpan BrightSpot: Thanks to the NICU, happy holidays, times 3

Who: Triplets Aidan, Ashley, and Addison Warren, children of Erica Jolly and Andy Warren; and Dr. Michael Goodstein, neonatologist, and the staff of the WellSpan York Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. 

What: The Warren triplets recently stopped at WellSpan York Hospital with their dad to visit Dr. Goodstein and thank him for their start in life, on the occasion of their 10th birthday. Their first holiday at home, all together, was Christmas 2012, so they will celebrate their 10th Christmas together this year as well. 

The triplets were born early, at 30 weeks and three days, after their mom spent four weeks in the hospital on bed rest. Their birth order (they were born just a minute apart by cesarean section) and weights were: Aidan, 2 pounds 10 ounces; Ashley, 2 pounds, 13 ounces; and Addison, 2 pounds, 1 ounce. 

Sisters Ashley and Addison were able to come home the next month, by Thanksgiving, but their brother Aidan, whose lungs were underdeveloped, had to stay in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit until the first week of December. 

The trio now is in the fourth grade at York Suburban School District. They all play musical instruments and participate in activities including soccer, basketball, and dance. Their parents enjoy watching their unique personalities unfold. 

Words to live by: "The thing I remember about the weeks in the NICU was how responsive and empathetic the entire staff was. The nurses, the entire team, Dr. Goodstein – I can remember them all doing a tremendous job of educating us and preparing us for when they came home," Andy says. "As challenging as it was to go through the roller coaster of the pregnancy, their stay in the NICU seemed relatively smooth." 

The parents say the NICU team carefully showed them how to take care of their tiny babies. The team also showed them how to take care of themselves – encouraging them to go home and rest when they could, noting they had the most skilled, highly trained babysitters on hand to watch their children. 

Erica remembers the yin-yang combo of NICU nurse Celia Deller and Dr. Goodstein. Celia was funny and upbeat, lifting their spirits with her cheer. Dr. Goodstein was the straightforward messenger. 

"When we came into the hospital at 22 weeks, before the babies were born, Dr. Goodstein was very matter-of-fact and upfront with the situation, and how serious it was. And then when they were born, he came in and said, 'Your babies will be fine.' I knew they would be fine because he always told it to me straight, even when I didn't want to hear it. He always told us the truth. That meant a lot." 

The babies' first Christmas was hectic, with friends and family wanting to see them. It also was filled with feelings of joy and gratitude for the special gift of these children. The children have grown over the past decade, but that sentiment has remained. 

"That feeling of being home for the holidays? Wow. It's why to this day I get emotional at this time of year," Andy says. 

Erica notes, "That first year was kind of a blur but we realized there is beauty in chaos. You look at them now and you know it was all worth it."