At Beevers Medical Solutions, "it's all about the babies." But every once and a while we step out of the box and do something extraordinary. This time, we went on an adventure to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
This Memorial Day, 2013, I was honored to meet Tom Wallace. Tom was a tail gunner on a B-17 during World War II. I really enjoyed spending time with him and his family at the museum. I had the opportunity to hear stories from Tom's daughter, Merideth, about the time he spent in the war. I also got to walk around the plane and even look inside. It was eerie almost. What a story that plane could tell, I'm sure.
Tom is a hero in my book. He fought for his country and lived to tell the tale. I stood in awe as I watched him look at the B-17. I couldn't help but wonder, "What is he thinking about? What is he feeling?" What did he hear, what did he see? What was he thinking as he looked the plane up and down? At one point, he asked to go back over to the tail. I imagine because that is where he spent his time. Alone in the back. Fighting. Fighting for the United States and fighting to stay alive. A part of me is so interested, so curious, in the stories that he holds. But another part of me isn't so sure I want to know. Even though there is much valor and accomplishment in all he has done, I'm sure not all of the stories are easy to hear. The memories that he has of that time are probably unforgettable, to say the least. I also can't help but wonder if he ever thought that one day, after the war was over, decades later, he would visit a B-17 in a museum? I'm guessing probably not. Probably not the first thing he was thinking about while he was being shot at.
There aren't many tail gunners left, and the experience they have is so specific and so compelling. Many of them died fighting. But Tom lived. He lived and he is still very much alive. I feel so blessed to have been able to meet him. I really appreciate the time I got to spend with him and his family. Even though I had never met them before, and I only spent about an hour of time with them, there's a part of me that feels connected to them. I think it's because I know what Tom did for me as a citizen of this country. He fought hard. He fought for me and he fought for you.
Watch this video of us at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum and tell me that this isn't a man full of strength, hope and determination. I can see it in his eyes. This man is courageous.
Do you know someone who fought in a war, too?
Share your stories with us, we'd love to hear what you have to say!
This article written by: Lesli Okorn, Marketing Intern at Beevers Medical Solutions
"Myka was born January 14th at 1lb 11oz - 11" long. She was a micro preemie. Something I had never seen. I heard about people having tiny babies, the size of a soda can, but never thought it would happen to me. I never saw something so tiny. She looked like a little alien baby. I prayed that she would cry when she was delivered, and she did, it was faint and sounded like a kitten, but I heard it and that somehow gave me some sense of peace. I still get emotional when I think about that moment. My husband knew she was going to be OK, but I didn't have that faith right away."
"Myka was a fighter from the start. Something I have found out about the little ones, is they don't give up easy, do they?"
"Myka was on a vent for a week, and then went to a C-Pap. I finally heard her voice again. I will never forget that day. But the nurses hated the C-Pap because alarms constantly went off. The masks just don't fit those tiny faces properly. The C-Pap only lasted 6 days and then Myka was placed on the vent again. The vent was my enemy. The first time I was allowed to do kangaroo care, I extubated her when we were putting her back because I got up too quick. I turned my daughter blue but everyone quickly went into action, bagged her and pinked her up again. That was traumatic for me, but Myka was fine. 6 weeks later, we decided to do the Dart Protocol to help her get off of the vent and within 2 days she was back on C-Pap and then a day later the high flow cannula. It seemed like she was on high flow forever. I hated seeing all that tape on her poor little face. I didn't even know what she looked like without all of that tape. Some nurses taped well and some didn't have that "gift". It was so frustrating."
"Her feeding tube never stayed in because she slobbered and the tape never stuck. Myka was a wonderful eater from the start, but they wouldn't remove her feeding tube because she was still on high flow. Our primary nurse begged the doctors to let her try low flow. She was our advocate. Myka fluctuated between 97 and 72 on o2 saturation on the high flow. As soon as she was placed on the low flow she statted 100 consistently. She was on a 1/2 liter of o2 but staying at 100%. It was so nice not hearing those alarms any more. The low flow cannula was so much smaller and the mini whiskers were introduced. Everything just looked so much better and her stickers finally stuck."
"After begging the doctors to let her come home and spending 89 days in the Nicu....Myka was released. I was in the Nicu every single day from 10am-8pm. I held her as much as I was allowed. She was gaining weight all along but had finally reached 5lbs. Our little angel was thriving. After 3 blood transfusions, being on a ventilator for 7 weeks, being poked, pricked, and constantly bothered : ) she was heading home. Our ending was a happy one. Myka still suffers from Chronic Lung Disease. We have tried to take her off of the o2 twice since she came home, but she is not ready. We think she will be on for a while yet, so please understand how amazing I think your company BMS is for working with us. Without your mini whiskers, every day would be a cannula fight! Thant's no joke! Myka looks and acts like a healthy baby today. Last Wednesday she was 5lbs 15 oz. My how far she has come!"
Mother of Myka Duval Roby
As I develop a new product I find myself in a conundrum.
Previously, when I dealt with only respiratory items, I could conveniently look at the NICU world as if it were an entire room full of little lungs. When I was embracing developmental considerations, I could wrap my head around that: normal eyes, normal hips, normal hearing, normal skin, and normal eating skills were some of the goals to be achieved after leaving the NICU and going home to be cared for by Mom and Dad. I can now see that even then I gave lip service to the baby as a whole picture; I didn’t imagine, and probably couldn’t have imagined, just how tricky the balance of total-care for our babies actually is. While addressing the many issues in the NICU there is definitely a fair share of critical issues but does that mean we can’t, we won’t, or maybe we just don’t, address the developmental issues?
For a moment, let’s think about what parents experience when they come into the NICU, into the room where their baby has spent hours, days or maybe even months attached to tubes and wires, surrounded by machines. Does every piece of effective equipment have to look like it’s from Starship Enterprise? Would it interfere with the function of a fluid pump if it had baby animals on it? These parents had an expectation of taking their newborn home to a cozy, comfortable room that they had prepared for him. Instead, they are confronted with a completely different set of circumstances. An unknown, undefined, much scarier set of circumstances. From the bedside in the NICU, I believe we are addressing this issue the best that we can. I really hope that these thoughts and questions can be considered by manufacturers too. When dealing with a cardiac issue do developmental, or respiratory goals have to be put on hold? In my opinion, it seems like they are most of the time. It’s not intentional and certainly I understand that the critical considerations have to come first. (If I were in an accident, I am all about focusing on not dying before I worry about what my hair looks like. If the hair has to go to accomplish job one then… ok. Duh.)
I have seen units so focused on high humidity for their micro babies that in addition to their smallness, they then have to try to stick things to wet babies. Very difficult. And, adhesive can’t be too sticky or the baby’s skin gets injured. Arghhh. Maybe a little drier so things can stick? Maybe a little darker so the baby eyes are protected, or brighter so the nurse can see to accurately put in that IV? The recurring theme about teamwork pops up again. I’ve seen the tape to secure IVs rubbed with cotton so it wouldn’t be so sticky, but of course then it doesn’t hold the IV in either. Between a rock and a hard place. Should we use wide pieces of tape that have less adhesion or smaller pieces that stick well? See? A conundrum…
My admiration goes out to those bedside caregivers who balance. The specialist who sees the need to balance and compromise. The physician who acknowledges the concerns that are ongoing, though they may not be on the critical list, considers them once again after the storm passes.
To the NICU graduates… You all had an entire team looking after you from your tiny lungs to your tiny (yet big) heart. From your abducted hips and many poked heels, to your phototherapy and your swaddling. That hardworking team, when it was at its best, kept your care and comfort the very best it could be and kept the bad parts to a minimum.
In the case for ALL the precious babies fighting to stay alive couldn’t we at least take into consideration every aspect of the total-care and try to accomplish as many things at a time and also maintain some sense of sanity? I know it must be possible. Even though there are so many things to balance, surely there must be a balance. Things to de-prioritize but not to forget. Things to remember and things to let go of. There must be answers about how we can provide the very best TOTAL-CARE for our babies. And that’s why I do what I do. I want to challenge the conundrum, face it head on, and find some answers.
There seems to be a big “thing” about the birth experience: The reduced light, the quiet room, snake oil, touchy feely, blah, blah, blah. I was on the “high risk delivery team.” I had a saying: “After this baby isn’t dead then I’ll concern myself with the experience. The baby staying alive is job number one.”
The kids that got a ticket into the NICU stayed with us for months on some kind of support till they were “fully cooked.” As time went on, developmental positioning, along with concern for the invasive sights and sounds that a preemie might experience, came into better focus. A prematurely stimulated brain does not progress in its development as intended. Does the ADHD rate have a correlation to seeing and hearing and feeling too early and not finishing the brain development in an orderly fashion?
A few years ago, a physician lectured in Portland, Oregon at an OHSU conference. He cited studies that supported the long term effects of premature stimulation:
The visual cortex, short story: babies don’t have to look at anything until at least 34 weeks, so just leave the bili mask on.
The auditory system, short story: Keep it quiet... Not necessarily silent, but quiet.
The oral mechanics, short story: Trying to get a preemie to suck too early affects their development process; gavage feed until they are old enough to learn to suck, don’t rush it. This isn’t a contest, it’s a process.
Stimulation of the skin, short story: a premature baby can’t tell touch from pain until the brain gets organized at about 34-36 weeks. A loving stroke may not be received as pleasant; it all depends on how developed the baby’s brain is.
When an infant delivers before its time, our management strategies should suit the premature patient, which is a much different patient than a full term baby. There is a time and a season for each thing to happen as a fetus matures. There are important steps in development that cannot be overlooked. If a developmental step is overlooked, or ignored, the brain won’t develop in order. We need to be mindful not to prematurely stimulate babies in the NICU and help to keep our babies on the narrow road to recovery.
There were mostly physicians at the conference; and they were physicians who are interested in research. So, it was a great place to get feedback for our developing products!
First day on the exhibit floor I saw my old medical director. Sadly, I didn't get to talk to him but seeing Howard first thing in Orlando, all the way from Oregon, was one of those eerie things about travel. I'm never far from someone from home, even when I'm 3000 miles away… The world we live in really is quite small and the world of neonatology, even smaller.
While I was at the NEO conference, I went to three lectures about very premature babies and their chances for survival without significant problems. This is something I've always struggled with. I came away thinking that there are no easy answers and I'm definitely grateful I'm not the one making decisions. I anticipated that there would be unacceptable costs, both in hospital and out, dreadful IQ compromise, and devastation of the family unit. Some of these things were measured, some were not. I was challenged about considering the whole family unit rather than just the patient. The patient is, after all, the only consideration for the physician. The family as a whole is a variable to be considered only by the parents... Right? I have been aware of families torn asunder by the addition of a special needs child and families that embraced the circumstances. It depends on the family. No easy answers. So much “life” happens after a child leaves the NICU. I did find some comfort in knowing that I have always done my part to help a child’s development and recovery in the NICU move along as smoothly as possible before they go home and out into the big, big world. A question I often ask myself is, “How much power do physicians really have?” How much comfort and support can I offer when, ultimately, I’m not the one in control. I do know, however, that I will never give up the hope for a better tomorrow for premature babies, AND their families.
After attending the NEO conference, I’m back home in Oregon and I’m more dedicated than ever to continue developing bedside products that will help caregivers to make the tiny decisions that can make things a little better for the baby. If we put many tiny, positive decisions together it can make a BIG difference overall.
Did you know?...
A Babies babbling means they want to learn?
Within their lantern's light, babies do focus . And when they do, Goldstein told LiveScience, "they usually make a sound to convey interest". Mainly, babbling – the nonsense syllables babies spout – is "the acoustic version of a furrowed brow," Goldstein said, signaling to adults that they are ready to learn. Eliot also said. "The only thing we know of, that makes babies smarter, is talking to them," she told LiveScience, emphasizing that dialogue is best, where a parent responds within the pauses of an infants' vocalizations.
Did you also know? The word “Baby” is thought to come from the babbling they make? As in “ba-ba-ba.”
Author: Jewell Sherbourne
Did you know?...
Silly faces and sounds matter?
When Babies imitate the facial expressions of their caregivers, it triggers the emotion in them as well, explains Alison Gopnik in her book "The Philosophical Baby". This helps infants build their basic understanding of emotional communication and more than likely explains why parents make extremely happy and sad faces at their little ones. Parentese, also known as baby talk, is another instinctual response that research has found is important for an infant’s development. Its musical, slow, and often exaggerated syllables helps the infant grasp words.
Author: Jewell Sherbourne
Did Your Know?...
All babies are born too early?
If it weren't for the size limitations of a woman's pelvis, babies would stay developing in the womb longer. However “a woman’s pelvis has to stay pretty narrow in order to keep upright.” Said Lise Eliot a neuroscientist and author of “What’s going on in there?”.
In order to fit out of it’s mother womb a newborns brain is one- quarter the size of an adults.
some pediatricians have labeled a baby's first three months of life as the "fourth trimester" of pregnancy to emphasize how needy, and yet devoid of social skills, babies are at this stage. The first social smile, for example, doesn't usually appear until the infant is 10-14 weeks old and the first phase of attachment, scientists suggest, begins around five months old.
Some biologists say that newborns are socially inept – and have an annoying cry – so that parents won't get too emotionally attached while the baby has an increased likelihood of dying. Of course, crying also gets a baby the attention he needs to survive.
Author: Jewell Sherbourne
I recently had a big lesson in the saying, “If you take care of the small things, the big things take care of themselves.”
My husband Tim and I arrived at our BMS office after a big windstorm to discover a tree had fallen down in the parking lot. It fell in the parking lot… not on the fence, and not on anyone’s car. Thank goodness.
Surprisingly, despite the huge mess, it was not a cause for sadness but for giddiness! Tim and I had been “nose to the grindstone” for weeks with travel and office duties. It was almost an excuse to play hooky.
We hurried home to grab the chainsaw and limb loppers and there in the dusk of our empty parking lot, we lopped and chopped until it was really, really dark. For three evenings in a row, I lopped branches into pieces. Tim used the chainsaw on the bigger ones. We filled up the back of our truck three times with the small branches. As I continued to clean up this wonderful mess, I discovered that once all of the little branches were cleaned up, it wasn’t such an intimidating job. We cut up the rounds and Heave-Ho, the job was done!
For those three evenings, it was more than just the branches that were on my mind… It might seem strange but I couldn’t help but think about babies. Babies I had cared for that survived and the babies that didn’t. I thought about tomorrow’s babies and how to keep from losing them. I thought about every baby in the NICU and the things we can do to help keep them safe and growing. No matter what I’m doing in life, there always seems to be some sort of parallel I can find to the NICU. Perhaps that reveals a little bit about me, “saving the world one baby at a time.” Our itty bitty babies in the NICU need so much and I have something to give. Attention, love and hope that they will live to drive their parents crazy as normal teenagers. I also give my ideas, plans to develop products that will help them to ride the big bus. I give them my creativity, and not so usual thinking, which is probably what led me to correlate cutting down a tree to babies in the NICU! But hear me out. What if, just what if, all of the small, minute adjustments and “clean-up” in the NICU made the job of keeping our babies stable seem clearer? There are so many “small branches,” in the NICU. I’m the type of person who looks for those details, seeks them out, and then tackles the questions to find some answers! What if once all of those tiny adjustments were made, the job as a whole was just a little more manageable? And with a gentler Heave-Ho, the job was done? Just a thought…
Well, anyway, once the tree was cleaned up from the parking lot, I felt good about what we had done. I accomplished something so tactile and right in front of me. It was clear there was no longer a fallen tree where one had once been. Plus, it was so refreshing to use my physical self to address a problem instead of always my brain. There were no marketing tactics, no creative bookkeeping, just cut and throw and cut and throw until the job was done… Now where’s the Aspirin? I’m getting too old for this!
Author: Kate Beevers
President of Beevers Medical Solutions
Shopping with the little ones doesn't have to be a hassle.
As it is the Holiday season, we all know how shopping can be, the crowds, the crying children, the emptying of wallets just to get that one special gift. And for new found mothers it can be exceptionally difficult. But no fear, with some quick tips and a little planning ahead you can avoid becoming a shop-a-phobe with your little one.
Most newborns need to be fed every few hours, giving you about a 90-minute window between feeds
Putting your baby in a sling or carrier allows for handy, hands-free shopping.
Tire your little ones out first with a trip to the park or perhaps even the toy aisle.
When shopping for clothes, stores with large change rooms and good return policies make the whole process much less painful.
Bring a small toy or a snack to keep their hands occupied and away from your delicate tomatoes or those fragile eggs.
Author: Jewell Sherbourne
Marketing Assistant of Beevers Medical Solutions