Whole family care: adoption and NICU support exceeds all expectations

March 8, 2023
An adopted baby boy with this family, thriving after his NICU stay.

When adoptive mom Brianna Morales, an application analyst for the IT medical imaging team, needed to lean on her own employer during the birth of baby Owen, Centura Health more than delivered. Following the birth mom’s smooth pregnancy, the Morales family was expecting a normal delivery of their second adopted son in their hometown hospital, St. Catherine Hospital Garden City in Kansas.   

But Owen’s entry into the big, wide world came with a few complications. “He wasn’t breathing when born,” Morales says. “But everyone was ready. I was in the delivery room trying to take it all in. It was like a blur, but everyone acted so quickly and made sure Owen was intubated, we were all OK, confidentiality was in place, and that we knew what was going on.”  

Because Owen aspirated meconium during delivery, an unlikely but possible complication, his lungs weren’t working properly, and he required a ventilator and other technology to get his lungs to do the job on their own. That meant an immediate transfer to the Birth Center at Centura St. Francis Hospital where he could receive a higher level of care.  

“Once we were there he didn’t want to eat, because he didn’t understand what a bottle was,” Morales explains. “But he needed to breathe and eat, so we were there for the first 23 days of his life. After that, Owen was transferred back to St. Catherine Hospital to complete his last week in the NICU.  

Two hospitals, two air lifts, countless caregivers

Despite the scary start — including the longest drive of Morales’ life while her infant was air lifted to St. Francis — the care at Centura’s Colorado Springs hospital only continued to exceed the family’s expectations. While away from home, Morales and her husband stayed at Ronald McDonald House, with visits from grandparents and big brother Julian. The temporary housing designed for scenarios just like this was a godsend, according to Morales.  

“I could have never imagined that this could happen to me,” she says. “They took extremely good care of us and were so generous.” A year later she still remembers all her nurses’ names and compassionate acts, plus homemade cookies, hot meals, to-go lunches, full laundry, and hospital transport provided by the warm Ronald McDonald staff that handled all the details while she attended to her son in the NICU.  

“It was a huge house, almost like a hotel with a private room and bath and community kitchen. But there was never a fee. It was more than anybody could expect,” she says.  

Today, Owen’s adoption is finalized thanks in part to the privacy and protocol Centura protected during delivery and post-natal servicing. He’s back home in Garden City, a happy, healthy part of the Morales family, which includes a great relationship with his birth mom.  

“We’ve had a few minor setbacks and hospital visits due to small colds that just hit Owen harder because of his respiratory history, but he’s right on track with growth and development,” Morales beams. “These boys are amazing. They’re brothers. No one would know they were from different birth families. In fact, people tell us they look alike all the time! God works in mysterious ways.”