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The Special Delivery of Latimer Cavanah

Newborn pictures of Latimer Cavanah don’t show the real story of this little boy’s birth. By all appearances, he looked healthy at over six pounds, but his health was in jeopardy.

Born six weeks early, Latimer spent his first 15 days in the Special Care Nursery at North Kansas City Hospital. It’s not the arrival his parents, Keri and Trey, expected for their third child.

Keri, age 33, remembers seeing her obstetrician/gynecologist Patricia Mooney Smith, MD, because she felt ill. Dr. Mooney Smith determined Keri was preeclamptic, a potentially fatal condition affecting five percent of pregnant women which causes high blood pressure, swelling and protein in the urine. The only treatment is delivery of the child.

Keri experienced this same condition with her oldest, Layne, now seven, but his birth was just two weeks early. Four-year-old Livia arrived without complications.

“At six weeks early, I wasn’t mentally ready for the birth of my child,” remembers Keri, “and I kept thinking of the problems that might occur like low birth weight or respiratory issues.”

Keri credits the doctors and nurses with getting her physically and mentally ready for the delivery.

Latimer arrived at 3:30 p.m. on March 5 and weighed over six pounds. Keri remembers visiting him in the Special Care Nursery, also called the neonatal intensive care unit or NICU. While Latimer seemed large compared to other preemie babies, his condition still was serious. He didn’t have a sucking reflex which meant he didn’t know how to eat.

A feeding tube in his nose provided nourishment. What followed in the days ahead would be old-fashioned patience and persistence in an environment with the latest technology and clinical expertise to help newborns grow and thrive.

Keri and Trey felt welcomed in the Special Care Nursery. She spent many nights in the room with her baby. Design of the nursery allows parents to be with their infant as much as they desire.

Keri and Trey saw first-hand the care, concern and expertise of the neonatal nurses. She says, “I knew I could call anytime if I decided to go home for the evening.” “I also recall the facility was immaculate, and I was so impressed with the nursing care,” says Keri, an elementary school principal in Orrick.

The emphasis for Keri, Trey and the NICU nurses was to develop Latimer’s sucking reflex, typically a natural reflex for full-term babies.  After 15 days, Latimer was ready to join his family at their Richmond home.

After his rocky start, he is now a healthy one-year-old who doesn’t show any signs of a premature birth. “The Special Care Nursery is such a good place and the nurses are so talented,” says Keri. “You can put the best program in place but it won’t be successful if you don’t have the people who believe in it.”

The Special Care Nursery at North Kansas City Hospital’s Northland Women’s Center provides the highest level of newborn care in the Northland. 

The Special Delivery of Latimer Cavanah