Three-year old Ny’Chelle loves to run and laugh. She paints, sings and wants to climb fences and skateboard with her older brothers. “If they can do it, she believes she can do it,” says her mother, Charity. “She wants to try everything, even riding a dirt bike.”
These weren’t always possibilities for Ny’Chelle. She was born a tiny preemie at 29 weeks and weighed 2.8 pounds. She faced health risks such as infection and poor lung function because her internal organs weren’t fully developed.
Nurses coached Charity in developmental care techniques such as skin-to-skin contact. “They told me the baby had to be able to hear my heartbeat,” Charity says. Ny’Chelle responded and grew stronger over the next two months in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). When Charity went home at night to care for her other children, the nurses gave Ny’Chelle extra love and care. Ny’Chelle was in our NICU for two months and has been a primary care patient at our Anacostia location ever since.
“A lot of people don’t understand what it’s like when your child is going through something like this,” Charity says. “At Children’s National, they get it. I was there on Michigan Avenue every day watching Ny’Chelle fight. Her nurses and doctors — they fought for her, too.”
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