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Meet Brinley Marie Hummel

Our NICU journey was very unexpected to say the least. I was diagnosed with COVID-19 in November of 2020. I had horrible symptoms, which ultimately affected my pregnancy. The doctors believe I had microscopic blood clots that attacked my placenta and caused our daughter to go into distress. 

We were on our way to Park City, UT for a family vacation when things took a turn and I was admitted to the University of Utah emergency OB unit on November 19th, 2020. The medical staff went above and beyond to make sure my daughter and I were well taken care of and prepared. However, on November 20th, 2020 Brinley Marie Hummel made her fast and furious arrival at 25 weeks and two days gestation weighing only 1 pound, 6.9 ounces. She was delivered via emergency C-section.

From day one, we knew our little girl was a fighter and she proved that over and over again during our four-month stay in the NICU.  

The first couple of days were touch and go, as we held our breath and prayed for a miracle. Our daughter was instantly placed in an isolette and on a ventilator. She also received all of her nutrition through a feeding tube and an IV. 

The first month was very difficult for our family. Not only were we adjusting to living in a new state, but we were also navigating being NICU parents and postpartum hormones. I would cry daily and was scared 24/7. Being a NICU parent is not for the weak. I applaud every family who goes through this experience, whether you have spent one day or 120 days in the NICU, it is all hard. 

The hardest thing I have ever experienced was leaving my baby to be cared for by someone else. However, after getting to know the nurses, respiratory therapists, nurse practitioners, and neonatologists; we knew Brinley was exactly where she needed to be and was getting the best care possible. We spent most of our time at the NICU and the staff truly became our family. We still talk with our primary nurses and give them updates on our girl.

Our little girl mainly struggled with breathing and eating on her own. Around week three she was extubated. She had been on steroids and was making lots of progress. However, after five days, Brinley started to struggle more and more and we could tell she wasn’t ready to fly on her own quite yet. Her chest X-rays, carbon monoxide levels in her blood and the amount of desats showed she needed more respiratory assistance and she was re-intubated. 

However, three weeks later, she was extubated again and this time it was for good! The nurse practitioner came to the conclusion that Brinley had reflux and that is what was causing her to have breathing episodes, so they decided to change her feeding tube. 

Every day in the NICU was trial and error. It is so hard to know what each baby needs and what to do to help them. This journey was a tough one. A journey full of: stress, anxiety, tears, unknowns, wires, tubes, monitors, needles, eye exams—you name it. But without even realizing it, deep down beneath all the fear, grew the deepest love I ever knew existed. A love that comes before anything else. 

From the beginning, we were told that our journey would be a rollercoaster ride, and that proved to be very true. The best advice we were given was to take it one day at a time. Some days are harder than others, but every day you get to watch your little miracle grow and develop on the outside, and that is the most amazing experience. 

The medical professionals at the University of Utah NICU were not only our friends, but our family. We are forever grateful for our time spent in Utah and we will never be able to adequately show our appreciation for everything that was done for us and our daughter.

Brinley Hummel, former NICU Patient
Brinley Hummel, former NICU Patient

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.