Angelica Deno, age 2, loves Elmo and sings and dances with enthusiasm. She walks and talks, and her favorite word is “Papa.” In short, Angelica is meeting her developmental milestones, which is remarkable given the obstacles she has faced in her young life.
When Angelica’s mom, Ailyn Deno, was 25 weeks into her pregnancy in January 2014, she woke with excruciating stomach pain and was admitted to her local hospital. While there, Ailyn suffered from preeclampsia and her organs began failing one by one. In order to save mother and daughter, Angelica was delivered at only 25 weeks and 6 days. She came into the world at a miniscule 13 ounces.
Little Angelica spent the first six months of her life at a community hospital near her family’s Miami area home. When she began suffering from pulmonary hypertension, she was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, which is routinely ranked among the best neonatology programs in the nation. The NICU is a referral site where other community neonatal centers transfer their most critically ill newborns for advanced care.
While at Nicklaus Children’s, Angelica was heavily sedated to help manage the pulmonary hypertension crisis for a total of two weeks.
“During her most critical days while under sedation,, Dr. Abdulwahab Aldousany was with her until 3 a.m.,” recalls Ailyn.
Complications are often many with extremely premature newborns. On November 2014, Angelica underwent a gastrostomy tube insertion with a fundoplication, a surgical procedure to prevent stomach contents from returning to the esophagus. That was another milestone in Angelica’s care management.
“The doctors and nurses at Nicklaus Children’s truly were devoted to Angelica. They worked together every day to ensure that her release from the hospital was successful,”Ailyn recalled.
Angelica has now been home for over a year and uses continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to support her breathing. But none of this fazes her. “When she is walking around and her tubes are in her way, she just jumps over them. Truly, she is jumping through all of life’s hurdles,” said Ailyn.
Ailyn will always be grateful to the care team at Nicklaus Children’s. “Without the doctors and nurses there, I would never have made it. Every staff person helped keep us from falling apart. All the successes up until now would not have been possible without the experts at Nicklaus Children’s.”