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Women's Health

Their Little Miracle Girl

July 01, 2008
Within seconds of being born, Kamryn Hahn was whisked away by the Newborn ICU team at St.Vincent. Her parents, Justin and Michelle Hahn of Kokomo, barely laid eyes on her.

While they longed to take in the face of their new daughter, the Hahns knew the medical team was doing what was necessary to give Kamryn the best chance at life. Kamryn had congenital diaphragmatic hernia, an abnormal development of the diaphragm that gave her a 50-50 chance of survival.

Yet, just 10 minutes after little Kamryn was born, a nurse brought the Hahns a picture of their little girl. "That just amazed us," says Justin. "They knew we were worried and really wanted to see our girl. We were really touched by that."

The Hahns say the gesture was just one of many that showed the spirit of caring at St.Vincent. In fact, that caring began with the first appointment with maternal-fetal medicine specialist James Sumners, M.D., two months prior to Kamryn's birth. Just 24 hours after the Hahns were informed by their local obstetrician that there were issues with the placement of their unborn daughter's heart, they were sitting in Dr. Sumners' office.

"At our first meeting, Dr. Sumners asked us if we'd named our baby yet. From that point on, whenever he referred to her, he called her by her name, acknowledging that she was a little living being," shares Justin.

It was overwhelming to take in that their unborn child had a life-threatening condition, but the Hahns felt well prepared about what lay ahead after Kamryn was born. About a month prior to her birth, Justin and Michelle visited the NICU at St.Vincent Women's Hospital, where their daughter would spend the first weeks and possibly months of her life.

"We heard buzzers and saw the lightly dimmed room and the little babies. Just being able to see the NICU prior to Kamryn's arrival actually calmed our nerves. We now knew what to expect," explains Justin. The Hahns also met with a genetic counselor and some pediatric specialists.

Because of that preparedness, the Hahns weren't at all surprised at how well the medical team dealt with Kamryn's birth. "They worked like a finely tuned machine—they were ready for us and for anything that arose. That gave us confidence," says Justin.

In six short days, Kamryn was stable enough for surgery to repair her diaphragm, which had a hole in it, causing the abdominal organs to move up into the chest cavity. Miraculously, she recovered well enough from surgery to go home about five weeks later.

Those five weeks weren't without their ups and downs. But the staff at St.Vincent, including Kamryn's primary nurse, Amy Owens, helped the Hahns treasure every moment with Kamryn. "They would ask Michelle to help them give Kamryn a bath or offer to help us hold her because she was hooked up to the ventilator," Justin explains. He says that Amy, in particular, helped them preserve memories.

"She kept the first bottle that Kamryn actually took for us. She also took a picture of her feet and made a beautiful scrapbook page for us," he shares. Their bond with Amy is still strong today.

Much sooner than they expected, the Hahns were able to bring their "little princess" home. Today, she's a happy 3-year-old, just like any other child her age. "My wife and I cannot adequately express how thankful we are that our Kamryn was born at St.Vincent Women's Hospital. There is no doubt in my mind that if she would have been born anywhere else, she would not be with us today."

10th Annual St.Vincent NICU Reunion Party

The staff and physicians of the St.Vincent Newborn Intensive Care Unit will celebrate a decade of tiny successes—more than 7,000—at the NICU Reunion Party on August 24. Come celebrate your miracle baby with us! To register or for more information, visit www.tinysuccesses.stvincent.org or call 338-CARE (2273).

St.Vincent NICU Reunion Party

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Zionsville Lions Park, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

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