Content Warning: some readers may find the following material, which is medical in nature, to be graphic. Please view with this understanding.
Little Wyatt Brenner was born prematurely in 2019. As a preemie, he weighed only about one pound eight ounces. Given his low birth weight as well as a list of medical complications, the little one had to be admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for treatment. He would spend about 113 days in the hospital until his care team deemed him fit to be taken home in 2020.
The Brenner family chronicled their ordeal on social media. Mom, Jessica, wrote long posts on Instagram about Wyatt’s progress in order to share with and educate others on preemies and their family’s journey. As Wyatt progressed, she wrote about his procedures, which included a broviac (surgically placed central line), as well as an ileostomy, and didn’t shy away from the more challenging moments.
She also dotted her son’s updates with sweet details, ensuring to write a little something about the sweet baby he was growing up to be. In February 2020, she wrote, «His dimples are getting bigger by the day & he loves to be snuggled as much as possible.» She included photos of Wyatt meeting Santa and him posing alongside seemingly gargantuan stuffed animals.
Jessica later spoke with reporters about what it was like to have a newborn in the NICU. She opened up about the challenges, as she explained: “My husband was back and forth between McAlester & Tulsa working and taking care of the house/dogs to being at the hospital with Wyatt & I. I left the hospital as little as possible. It was the biggest blessing to be at St. Francis in Tulsa because it was the best of the best NICU team.”
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The family was able to make a temporary home base in Tulsa, where their son was admitted. Jessica said the Ronald McDonald House there «will forever be one of our greatest blessings; they provided a bedroom with a bathroom and shower and a community kitchen and living area. It was a home away from home in the scariest season of our lives.»
The Brenner family made a point to mention their son’s care team as well, sure to credit the small village of healthcare professionals and auxiliary staff that made it all possible. Jessica gave a shout-out to everyone «from the security guards at the front desk to the janitorial staff, cafeteria, respiratory therapists, specialty staff of surgeons, GI teams, and (saving the best for last) the nurses and neonatologists» for their help with Wyatt. In thanking them, she said, «It was isolating at times but also like we were living in a whole different world with primary nurses and medical teams that became family.”
This team of family and found family was able to get Wyatt through all his complications and to a weight where he could finally be discharged. In the end, the infant beat the odds of recovery and emerged from the NICU a rolly little boy ready for the world. While he will require some physical therapy as well as occupation and speech therapy, Wyatt is otherwise a lovely child. Jessica relayed: «He is joy and sunshine! He is the happiest boy.» Already friendly, the little one «will wave at everyone» and seems eager for life.
Do you know of any harrowing birth stories? Let us know — and be sure to pass this article on to friends, family and any fellow NICU grads!