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Philanthropy Brings Innovation and Comfort to Hoag NICU Parents

“Going home without the boys was the hardest thing we’ve ever done. We felt like we were abandoning them. It was heartbreaking. But at Hoag, we could choose our primary nurses in the NICU, and they quickly became like family. We saw how invested they were, and we trusted them immensely. They’re real-life angels. The boys were in good hands.”

What had been a textbook twin pregnancy for new parents Hanna and Greg dramatically changed course when Hanna’s water broke at just 32 weeks. Physicians at Hoag responded both calmly and quickly. The OB/GYN on call, Dr. Gigi Kroll, created a new birth plan for the couple, reassured them and explained everything along the way. For Hanna, those first few days after delivering twin boys Jack and Leo were incredibly difficult, both emotionally and physically. “Not being able to touch or hold your babies at first—we never imagined that was a potential outcome,” Hanna shares. Jack and Leo were only about three and a half pounds each.

When it came time for Hanna to go home, the boys remained in the NICU. Cornelia, Jack and Leo’s night nurse, sat down with Hanna and Greg to prepare them. Cornelia had been in Hanna’s shoes a year earlier. In addition to the around-the-clock support and encouragement they received from their NICU nurses—Emily, Mai, Cornelia and Fion—the couple found comfort in Hoag’s innovative technology. Donor-funded cameras at each NICU bay gave Hanna, Greg and their family the opportunity to watch Jack and Leo when they couldn’t be at the hospital with them. “The NICU cameras were an incredible feature that made a huge difference while we were waiting for the boys to come home,” Hanna says. At Hoag, philanthropy not only funds technology but also state-of-the-art equipment, research, advanced training and higher education scholarships for nurses.

“We are so grateful for the doctors and nurses at Hoag. They took the time to make sure we were part of the process and had skin-to-skin contact with our boys, which is so important. We knew we had a whole community of people behind us,” says Greg 

Hanna and Greg are confident Hoag equipped them with tools they wouldn’t have learned anywhere else, helping them feel more prepared to bring Jack and Leo home after 34 days in the NICU. The boys turned one in September 2021. They are both happy and healthy, and Hanna and Greg still keep in touch with their real-life angels. 

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