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Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital treats children of all ages. Connor Loomis was sent to Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital by his Pediatrician, Dr. Patwardhan during a newborn visit. He was only three days old and diagnosed with Intestinal Malrotation and Volvulus. This is their story.

From Connors parents:

Our son Connor Michael entered the world 3 weeks early on 6/23/2020 at Presbyterian Hospital! We spent 3 days in the hospital and were sent home on a Thursday. The next morning, we were at our 1st pediatrician appointment where the doctor agreed something wasn’t right. She confirmed the spitting up we were concerned about before we left was actually him vomiting up bile. Our Pediatrician immediately called Hemby Children’s Hospital for us to be admitted ( little did we know what was happening and all the work the nurses and doctors were already doing for us before we arrived).

It is all kind of a blur as I sit here and write this, but I can tell you this; nothing is scarier than not knowing what is going on with your baby. It felt like we were there waiting forever. I remember specifically one nurse, Sarah who somehow managed to calm us and take Connor to get an IV placed so they could start hydration as he was very dehydrated by the time we arrive. She brought us Orange Gatorade and a breast pump for me to use because of course my milk finally came in as we were waiting on Connor’s diagnosis.

After Xray after Xray, we finally met with Dr. Schulman ( also a real-life superhero). He was starting the first of his 5-day stretch – little did he or us know that he would be operating on our 72-hour old baby during that time. Dr. Schulman sat us down and went over some very worst-case scenarios- the kind of stuff you don’t ever want to hear and we don’t ever want to remember, he told us our son had malrotation of his intestines and volvulus- we had never heard of either condition and couldn’t understand how this could be happening to our baby. Dr. Schulman made it clear we had to act fast and it was time to start making some decisions- Connor went into surgery that hour.

After his third surgery, we found out that they had to remove his appendix and approx 80% of his small intestines. What did this mean? We didn’t even know what function the small intestines played in the digestive system. We were quickly going to learn. In all, Connor had 4 surgeries- all performed by Dr. Schulman! We spent 4.5 weeks in PICU and 1.5 weeks on the pediatric floor. Not only were we first time parents, but this was the first time either of us had ever had to stay overnight in the hospital besides giving birth. We were scared.

My husband was wearing a Genesee Brewery T-Shirt that night ( a Rochester, NY staple). Once Connor returned to the PICU from surgery, Dr. Nazarian and Nurse Tracy were taking care of Connor that night- they both had been recruited down from the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY where they worked with my aunt. It was at that moment, that I felt “thank god”, this might be a sign.

In the following days and weeks, we got to know all of the doctors and staff on the PICU floor. We were here in the middle of the pandemic, so we were not allowed to have our friends or family come in and visit while we were here. The staff became our family! We felt that they treated Connor like their own. The staff knew us by name. Sending us flowers for my birthday, checking in on us to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves- reminding us that we would not be able to take care of Connor if we did not take care of ourselves as well. Sitting with us so that they could watch us hold Connor as he was attached to what seemed to be a million different tubes.

During his stay, we were so scared. We did not know what our future looked like. The staff and team helped to educate us and keep a positive mindset. We will never forget the conversation we had with Nurse Danielle that totally lifted our spirits and realigned our perspective- she may never know the impact she had on us that day, but we will never forget it!

I remember when Connor was doing well enough that he could start wearing clothes, one of our nurses ( Deanna) bought him a snap-up onesie for him to wear! She told us the snaps would be our best friend while he was on TPN- she was right!
Connor was on TPN ( IV nutrition) as his intestine was starting to “ wake back up”. We weren’t sure how much nutrients his intestines would absorb from him drinking breast milk, so we were told he would be on TPN for the foreseeable future. We started on just 5ml of breast milk, increasing every other day until he has stable enough to go home.

We were so scared to administer TPN at home ourselves. 2 of the PICU nurses came over to help teach us. This was something the home health agency tried to teach us but wasn’t that helpful. The nurses from the PICU knew us, they knew Connor, they knew how to talk to us so that we would understand. That goes to show that even when we left the hospital, they were still amazing!

We have officially been home from the hospital for 89 days! Connor is up to full feeds of 4 oz bottles and weighing in at 13.10 lbs! We are so close to getting his central line out! We would not be where we are today without the care and support we received from Hemby Children’s Hospital. We are forever grateful for the care they provided to our sweet boy Connor and for keeping us parents in good spirits during the most challenging time of our lives. They will always have a special place in our hearts.

When you call in or go online and donate you’re supporting programs just like this. We encourage you to give a little extra love this season and donate online or by calling 1-866-676-PED1 to our 9th annual Secret Santa fundraiser. Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital offers patients remarkable medical care while offering parents peace of mind.

Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige