The First Choice, From Their Very First Breath

When Jessica Bell was born two months early, her parents Kara and Jim Bell weren’t sure what the future would hold. As doctors expected, Jessica’s lungs weren’t fully developed and she had trouble breathing. The neonatal specialty team from Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health arrived and transported the five-pound infant to Riley, where she was admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

At Riley, the family alternated their time between the NICU and the lounge. Initially it was hard, seeing tubes connecting Jessica to needed oxygen, IV’s and monitoring equipment. Despite all the equipment, they were able to spend most of their time simply holding their newborn and learning how to bathe and care for her.  “It really helped to be able to care for her ourselves,” says Kara.

Kara admits they were fortunate to have experts teaching them so much about how to care for their baby. But what they’re most grateful for is simply having a hospital like Riley available when they needed it. 

“When you’re in a NICU, you see babies with so many issues. We were lucky; Jessica’s never had any issues since then – her growth’s been amazing, she’s almost the tallest in her class,” says Kara. “The doctors, the nurses – everyone was wonderful, so personable and caring. We had great care and it all worked out. It was a real blessing for sure.”

These days Jessica is a happy, healthy and active child – just what Kara and Jim imagined their first-born would be.

Riley Hospital for Children Neonatology at Indiana University Health provides the most comprehensive care in the state for newborns and infants with medical or surgical problems.  Children like Jessica receive the best possible care in a warm, family-centered atmosphere.  As a leader in Neonatology, Riley at IU Health was recently ranked 44th by U.S.News and World Report's 2013-14 Best Children's Hospitals.


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