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Newborn in NICU incubator

Family shares their NICU journey live on Facebook

As a neonatal nurse practitioner in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit here at Children’s Wisconsin, I have the honor to meet so many courageous families. One of those families, Adam and Molly Van Zeeland of Appleton, recently were generous enough to share the story of their daughter Macy’s first few weeks of life, which have been eventful, to say the least. (Watch their video here)

It was known during Molly’s pregnancy that Macy would have potential kidney and heart abnormalities, but when she was born it was quickly discovered that she had other significant issues as well. After being transferred here to our Children Hospital of Wisconsin NICU in Milwaukee, Macy was diagnosed with a pair of birth defects known as TEF/EA — an esophageal atresia, which means she was born with an interruption in her esophagus (food pipe), so her food was not getting all the way to her stomach; and a tracheosophageal fistula, which is an abnormal connection of the trachea (windpipe) and the esophagus.

Molly and Adam did such a great job explaining not only what was going on with their daughter — who underwent surgery at just 3 days old — but also sharing what it’s like for families going through this experience.

I was thrilled to be able to join them to lend some medical expertise, alongside Edward Kirkpatrick, DO, who gave insight into how we treat pulmonary hypertension, which is another condition Macy is dealing with. Videos like this are a great opportunity to learn more about the amazing stories that happen every day in our NICU.