Twinell and Jeff Lowe had their empty nest plan mapped out when they learned in December 2019 that they were expecting their third child. “Our two oldest children were finishing college,” Twinell said. “We were going to live on the beach, and I was training to run 5K races. We had our life all planned.”
Life had plans of its own, including a medical curveball. Twinell had gestational hypertension, something she didn’t experience in her previous pregnancies. “I was having headaches and my blood pressure was high,” Twinell recalled.
The Lowes were set to deliver at Broward Health Corals Springs, but at around 25 weeks gestation Twinell’s medical issues worsened.
She was transported for critical care to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, which has a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The Level III NICU provides the highest level of care for infants at Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital. The multidisciplinary team of board-certified neonatologists, advanced nurse practitioners, specialized neonatal ICU nurses and pediatric specialists are equipped with state-of-the-art technology for the smallest of patients.
On May 28, 2020, Twinell underwent an emergency cesarean procedure to deliver her daughter Bella Rose at 1 pound 7 ounces. The baby was immediately transferred to the NICU. Twinell remembered when she first saw her daughter in the NICU. “It was really scary seeing her connected to everything. She was so tiny,” she said. “The nurses reassure you and say it’s going to be a journey which helped.”
Fortunately, Bella had no brain damage or other medical issues requiring surgery. “Bella had the best nurses,” said Twinell.
One of those primary nurses was Gabby Lorenzo, RN, with whom the Lowes remain in contact. “I had an automatic connection with Bella,” Lorenzo said. “I was able to follow her journey through the milestones and build a relationship with the Lowes.”
Over the next 106 days, Bella grew until she graduated from the NICU weighing 6 pounds, 4 ounces on Sept. 11, 2020.
“This was a remarkable case because we were able to care for a baby who was just a little over 1 pound upon arrival,” said John Tryzmel, MD, Medical Director of the NICU. “Seeing her go home makes all our hard work worth it.”
Today, the Lowes have a deeper appreciation of life’s twists. “We weren’t planning on [having another child] but now that she is here, we can’t imagine life without her,” Jeff said. “We needed her, and we didn’t know we needed her.”