Ian Salazar – NICU Success Story

Giving babies a strong start – Methodist Mansfield's NICU gives family reason to celebrate

Ian Salazar and family The Salazars are grateful for the advanced
care at Methodist Mansfield's NICU that
saved both mother's and baby's lives.

Ian Salazar is a happy and healthy 2½ years old and growing strong. His favorite words are "I do it" and "no," and he enjoys playing peekaboo. To his parents, Lindsay and Jose, he's a miracle.

At birth, Ian's little 14-inch body weighed in at just 1 pound, 13 ounces, and his first 50 days of life were spent in the level IIIA neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Methodist MansfieldMedical Center.

For those seven weeks, Ian's parents had many ups and downs.

"We would go to the hospital every day, and when I wasn't there, I relied on the support of the physicians and nurses to get Ian healthy enough to come home," Mrs. Salazar says.

Danger ahead

undefined"I never imagined that my pregnancy would lead to a premature birth," Mrs. Salazar says, looking back.

As the first-time mom excitedly approached her 29th week of pregnancy, she went for a routine appointment with her OB-GYN, Erin Westerholm, DO, independently practicing physician on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield. Tests that day showed that Mrs. Salazar needed emergent treatment, which prompted Dr. Westerholm to send her to Methodist Mansfield immediately for further testing. There the young mom-to-be was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and admitted to the hospital on bed rest.

Within a few days, the pre-eclampsia had escalated into HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening obstetric complication that includes the breakdown of red blood cells, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet counts. To save the lives of both mom and baby, doctors performed an emergency cesarean section, and shortly after 5 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2010, Ian Angel Salazar came into the world – more than two months too soon.

Mrs. Salazar says, "I was fighting for my life, and he was fighting for his."

Battles won, a family united

After three days, Mrs. Salazar was finally well enough to meet her little boy. She remembers vividly the nurses wheeling her entire hospital bed into the NICU so she could see him for the first time.

"He was so tiny, and the diaper was huge," she says. "He had a mask over his face to help him breathe. I knew he was struggling for life, and it was challenging. You simply want to hold your son, and you aren't able to do that because he is on a ventilator. His skin was so fragile you could barely touch him."

It was two weeks before the Salazars could hold their newborn son.

Ian Salazar Little 2 ½-year-old Ian is blissfully
unaware of his difficult first days of life.

"I was the first one to bond with him," Mrs. Salazar says. "The nurses were incredible and placed huge screens up so I was able to place him against my skin for a few precious moments. They also hand-knitted him a blanket to keep him warm and on Valentine's Day made us a card."

The Salazars credit the specialized medical care and the above-and-beyond compassion of the NICU team with both mom's and baby's lives today.

"The whole experience was scary for us, but the doctors and nurses did a phenomenal job of addressing our concerns and making us feel better," Mrs. Salazar says. "They made a difficult journey a lot easier."

Methodist Mansfield is dedicated to creating the best possible experience for babies like Ian and their families.

From the summer 2012 edition of Shine magazine.