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Omari Learning to Thrive at 31-Weeks

“Having a child in the NICU was an emotional rollercoaster, and the staff was an amazing support system getting me through every step,” added Tanisha.

After spending over two months in the NICU, Omari Anderson is an energetic and healthy four-year-old.

Only 31-weeks into her pregnancy, Tanisha Anderson’s water broke, resulting in an emergency C-section at Newark Beth Israel, where she was a nurse manager on the Women’s Health Unit.

Her newborn son Omari, who weighed 3 pounds, 10.4 ounces, was immediately put in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Omari spent 70 days in the NICU at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel. He came onto the unit experiencing respiratory distress syndrome and premature lung disease. The NICU team immediately placed him on Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a type of oxygen therapy that places pressure on the lungs to make it easier to breathe.

After a few days on CPAP, Omari was able to breathe on his own and the team focused on giving him the nutrition, proteins and vitamins he needed to grow. Tanisha was by his side 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The NICU doctors strongly encourage parents to spend as much time as possible with their newborns, including holding them and engaging in skin-to-skin contact.

“Having a child in the NICU was an emotional rollercoaster, and the staff was an amazing support system getting me through every step,” added Tanisha.

Omari left the NICU weighing 7.5 pounds and breathing on his own but his journey was not over. While in the NICU he was also diagnosed with a serious condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). Tanisha was told that his heart was beginning to fail and he would need heart surgery.

Thanks to the Children’s Heart Center, Omari’s condition was treated through a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure instead of open heart surgery. Omari now visits his cardiologist every two years to monitor his heart health, but he is a healthy, active 4-year-old thanks to the exceptional medical care he received right from the start.