Stepping out into the Healing Garden, Lexi and her husband Josh felt the rush of fresh air for the first time in days. They listened to the lapping of the water feature and felt better. Their newborn son, Bear, had been airlifted to Children’s National Hospital after his mom found him unresponsive. They spent days and nights in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hoping for the best.

Bear, just three days old, needed help breathing. Dangerous seizures had left him lethargic and dehydrated. Our neonatal team diagnosed him with life-threatening viral meningitis. By day six, he was stable, alert and hungry.

A nurse, Hannah, recommended Lexi and Josh visit the garden to take a break. “It was like a little getaway,” Lexi recalls. “We could call our other kids and relax.” Hannah’s kind gesture is one of many that Lexi and Josh remember from their time at Children’s National.

“From the friendly front-desk lady who always remembered us to the NICU staff, doctors and other nurses who took good care of us. They were all rock stars. We trusted them fully.”

Lexi especially appreciated how doctors prepared them each morning about what would happen that day. “It built our confidence,” she says. “They were concerned with our mental health in the NICU.”

Bear is now a thriving toddler. Children’s National continues to help him grow up stronger. Our NICU team helped set up in-home physical therapy sessions and our neurology team still monitors Bear’s brain development. He has no significant delays and enjoys the attention of his three adoring old siblings, Charlotte, River and Jolie. Lexi says, “Dr. Bear took good care of our little Bear.”

A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

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A young patient at Children's National Hospital.