Texas Children’s celebrates World Prematurity Day, unveils symbolic homecoming door for NICU families

“Our son was supposed to be born on Christmas Day but he decided Election Day was more fun,” said Whitney Kubik whose son was born six weeks early at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “I was honored that Kemp was chosen to be the first one to walk through the door. I am very excited because he gets to go home soon.”

In recognition of World Prematurity Day on November 17, Texas Children’s Newborn Center and the Pavilion for Women leadership unveiled a symbolic green doorway that represents the end of a family’s NICU journey and the beginning of a new chapter when they get to bring their baby home for the first time.

“Whether you’re in the NICU for two months or two years, it can be tough on families,” said Desiree Bradley, a NICU mom and member of Texas Children’s Newborn Family Advisory Committee. “We thought about different concepts and came up with the idea of a discharge door to mark this momentous milestone.”

Bradley and her Newborn Family Advisory Committee members Shannon Essex and Ane Alfred presented their design sketch to Texas Children’s Facilities Operations team who recreated what was in the hearts and minds of these mothers and children.

On World Prematurity Day, Texas Children’s was one of three hospitals nationwide that partnered with the March of Dimes to promote its national “Give Them Tomorrow” initiative to raise local, national and global awareness of prematurity, the number one cause of death for babies in the U.S. and around the world.

More than 380,000 cards and letters – one for each premature birth in the U.S. annually – were created by families across the country. With the help of representatives from the University of Houston men’s basketball team, stacks of inspirational cards were delivered to Texas Children’s NICU families in honor of this significant day.

“I’m very glad that we had patient families here, community representatives, our physicians and nursing leadership who came out to show their support,” said Chief of Neonatology Dr. Gautham Suresh. “Because it is only with partnerships amongst all the stakeholders that we can make a dent in the rate of prematurity and improve the outcomes of premature babies and their families.”

During this special occasion, Texas Children’s was named the top corporate sponsor of the 2017 March for Babies in Houston – the No.1 March for Babies in the country.

Cris Daskevich, senior vice president of the Pavilion for Women, will serve as the chair of the walk which rallies support from across the Houston community to combat prematurity. Michelle Riley-Brown, executive vice president and president of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, will be chairing the Montgomery County March for Babies event in May and Information Services Senior Vice President Myra Davis, Assistant Vice President of Women’s Services Ivett Shah and NICU Vice President Judy Swanson will co-lead the Texas Children’s system-wide campaign.

“We are proud to partner with the March of Dimes in these efforts and grateful for their many decades of support to Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine,” Daskevich said. “Over the last 10 years, the March of Dimes has provided more than $16 million in grants more than all other Houston area institutions combined.”