Elena Elias was born on May 11, 2017, after only 23 weeks and five days of gestation. Her mom, Natalie, had an emergency cesarean section at Huntington Hospital. Elena was born small — only 1 pound, 2.2 ounces (515 grams) — a micro preemie. Elena could not breathe on her own at birth. Elizabeth Kovacs, MD, along with our supporting team of nurses and respiratory therapists, worked intensely to put in place a breathing tube in Elena’s windpipe, and to stabilize her.
“Being a new mom is scary enough,” says Natalie. “Being a mom of a preemie is terrifying. To this day we don’t know why Elena came so early. We‘re thankful that she is so strong and a fighter.”
The first tiny patient to experience our small baby unit, Elena was closely monitored and received intensive care. After a month in the unit’s highly controlled environment, she was strong enough to graduate to our regular NICU. By September, she was home with her parents. Today, one of our occupational therapists continues to see Elena regularly — and she is thriving.
Natalie and her husband, Eric, are grateful for the care their daughter has received. “The staff at Huntington Hospital went above and beyond to help Elena and make sure my husband and I understood what was happening every step of the way,” says Natalie. “I can’t thank them enough for not giving up on our baby and for saving her life.”