Mother-to-be Denese Rees was receiving prenatal care when she heard devastating news. Her baby would be born brain dead and there were no options. Unwilling to accept there were options, Denese switched hospitals and finished her prenatal treatment at Wesson Women and Infants at Baystate Medical Center. “Baystate gave me hope,” Denese said.
LIFE-SAVING SURGERY AT 11 DAYS OLD
When her son Bryson was born, he was cared for by the specially trained team on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Baystate Children’s Hospital. Hours after he was born, he had his first surgery and at 11-days-old, Bryson had a shunt implanted in his brain that saved his life. Denese remembers how the doctors and nurses calmed her fears and taught her how to take care of her baby boy. Soon, he was well enough to go home. “He came home without oxygen which was a big deal,” Denese said.
HUGS AND SUPPORT
Since his birth, Bryson has been diagnosed with nine different conditions and had three more surgeries at Baystate Children’s Hospital. “The people at Baystate Health have been a big part of his life,” Denese says. “We’ve become very close with Rachel Delano from the Child Life department and Bryson hugs her the second he sees her. They definitely make him feel like he’s at home.”
COOLER THAN A PORSCHE
Today, two-year-old Bryson has his own wheels and they’re much cooler than any Porsche or BMW. When he got his blue and red, pint-sized wheelchair, it changed his life and gave him a newfound independence. “Now Bryson can play hide-and-seek and tag with his sister!” Denese says. “He’s a smiling, happy child.” The wheelchair also saved my back, she laughs.
When she thinks about her experience at Baystate Health, what stands out most is how supportive the whole care team has been. Nurses and child life specialists stepped up to help her on the most challenging days. The doctors, including pediatric gastroenterologist Anastasios Angelides, MD, and neurosurgeon Jonathan Martin, MD explained everything in a way she could understand and made her and Bryson feel comfortable every step of the way.