Skip to main content

Meet Avery Matney

Avery was born with an infection at 24 weeks gestation in 2019. He actually ended up with four different infections, hernias, and chronic lung disease. In the end we had a 180-day NICU stay! He struggled with his lungs, and was on a ventilator for a total of 12 weeks. He was able to be extubated to CPAP (with two and a half rounds of steroids), and eventually got to a point where he was on a low enough rate of flow that he could go home!

Avery Matney, NICU baby at University of Utah Health
Avery Matney, NICU baby

Because of his lung issues, he could never get enough stamina to finish a bottle. Before we were eventually discharged, we chose to have a G-tube placed (along with a hernia repair), and were so glad we did! A few weeks after coming home, Avery developed an oral aversion, and was completely tube-fed for a number of months. We like to say that we completely skipped the bottle phase, but later (with the help of some wonderful therapists), Avery really took to eating solid foods.

Notably—though he had a fairly rough resuscitation when he was born—he ended up with no brain bleeds at all, which we are very grateful about.

Avery is three years old now, and just passed his three-year gestational birthday! His only oxygen requirement is blow-by while sleeping, and he takes an inhaler twice daily. Recently, he was weaned completely off any food through his G-tube, and eats all his nutrition by mouth! He’s starting to talk constantly, putting together short sentences, and repeating everything! He loves to run wildly around the house after a meal, “cook” with his mom (standing up to the counter in a step stand and mixing things in a bowl), watching the Baby music video by Justin Bieber and Single Ladies by Beyoncé (his requests), and cleaning.

He’s a very different boy today from that 1lb 5oz, purple baby in an incubator whose eyes were still sealed shut.  We love him so much!

Special thanks to Andrea Tillotson who did his chest compressions at birth. Our primary nurses Karla Rogerson, Jen Berg, Lindsay Arslanian and team at PCH. 

Avery Matney, former NICU baby at U of U Health
Avery Matne at three years old

Meet Our NICU Alumni

This is a special project that documents our NICU alumni. We are so grateful to watch these amazing young patients grow into their lives, despite a challenging start.