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Trials and triumphs: Xayvion's resilient NICU journey spanning 119 Days

Trials and triumphs: Xayvion's resilient NICU journey spanning 119 Days

Laquania Phillips, already a devoted mother to her 12-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son, never anticipated that a routine visit to her dentist would reveal the unexpected news of her pregnancy with her third child, Xayvion, bringing even more love and joy to her family. 

"I had a toothache, so I went to the dentist to have my tooth pulled," Laquania recalls. "But when they checked my blood pressure, it was too high. Since the dentist's office is connected to the clinic side, they sent me there for a routine urine test, and that's when I received the surprising news of my pregnancy. I remember thinking, 'I'm too old for this.'" 

Due to high blood pressure concerns, Laquania was referred to the emergency room (ER) for further evaluation. Upon arrival at the ER, she was treated for high blood pressure, and another test confirmed the unexpected news— Laquania was indeed pregnant. After the initial shock wore off, Laquania embraced the journey ahead with determination and resilience. She began seeing her OB-GYN for regular appointments to monitor both her health and the growth and development of her baby.   

“Everything was smooth sailing during my first trimester,” said Laquania. “However, complications arose during my second trimester when my high blood pressure became a concern. I had a history of high blood pressure when I was pregnant with my daughter, so this time around, it was a little bit worse.” 

Despite medications aimed at controlling her high blood pressure, the challenges persisted.  

At her 24-week appointment, Laquania’s OB-GYN urgently recommended that she go to the ER. From there, she was transferred to East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie, Louisiana, where she underwent extensive monitoring and treatment for two-and-a-half weeks until her baby was born.   

Then, a few days into her hospital stay, doctors noted concerning findings from Xayvion’s ultrasound— he wasn’t growing as much as expected. Subsequent ultrasounds revealed a dropping heart rate, prompting the medical team to make the quick decision to deliver the baby as soon as possible.  

On September 14, 2023, Xayvion was born via Cesarean section at just 26 weeks gestation. Weighing a mere one pound and four ounces, his entry into the world was met with uncertainty.  

“When he was born, I didn’t get to see him right away because they rushed him to the NICU,” said Laquania. “I was shocked that I just had a C-section and delivered my baby way ahead of schedule.” 

Xayvion’s condition required specialized care, leading to his transfer to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at  Children’s Hospital New Orleans. His premature arrival marked the onset of a journey filled with challenges and triumphs. 

At Children’s Hospital, Xayvion’s condition was carefully monitored and treated by a multidisciplinary team of nurses and doctors. Over his 119-day NICU stay, he faced numerous challenges that typically arise in preterm babies born at a young gestational age, including an esophageal perforation and respiratory complications. However, with the expert care provided by specialists in various fields, including pulmonology, ophthalmology and endocrinology, Xayvion progressed towards recovery.  

Despite the hurdles, Xayvion displayed remarkable resilience. He underwent surgery to address an umbilical hernia and had a G-tube inserted for feeding, enabling him to receive essential nutrition as his body healed.   

After 119 days in NICU, Xayvion reached a significant milestone – he was strong enough to go home. 

“That was an exciting time for me,” said Laquania. “He spent a long time in the NICU, and I was eager to take him home. His siblings adore him, and they help me take care of him. He was a surprise blessing.” 

Although Xayvion still requires oxygen therapy for bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a chronic lung condition common in premature babies, he continues to thrive and grow at home. 

“He weighs a healthy 7 pounds and 11 ounces at 4 months old,” said Laquania. "His major challenge at the end of his NICU stay was his inability to take feedings by mouth. But now, he drinks his bottles. I only use the G-tube at night or if he doesn't finish his bottles, in which case I'll put the rest in the G-tube. We're working with him on his oral feedings with the goal of achieving full oral feeds in the future." 

Reflecting on their journey, Laquania thanks the exceptional care provided by Children’s Hospital. “Our experience was great,” she shares. “The nurses and doctors answered my questions, took good care of me and my baby. Xayvion was spoiled by the nurses. He was one of the hospital favorites.”  

With the support of his NICU team and the love of his family, Xayvion’s journey exemplifies hope and resilience, reminding us of the remarkable strength found in even the smallest of fighters. 

For more information about the NICU at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, visit: Neonatal Intensive Care | Children's Hospital New Orleans (