Texas Health Dallas NICU Patient Overcomes Odds of Premature Birth|
DALLAS — Born weighing only 1 pound, 10 ounces, Graham Murphy spent his first 120 days fighting for his life in the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Ten years later, he’s still practicing that fighting spirit. Now, it’s for his black belt in taekwondo.
His was one of the many stories and memories shared at the recent NICU reunion at Texas Health Dallas. This annual event lets families visit with their caretakers who were such a big part of their lives from the beginning.
“The NICU team held us up at every turn,” said Sara Murphy, Graham’s mom. “The social workers, doctors on staff, respiratory therapists and nurses were beyond helpful to us. They stood quietly by our sides while we wept. They encouraged, empathized and yes, they even cried too.”
The Murphys' journey began during week 20 of Sara’s pregnancy.
“I never hesitate to describe my pregnancy with Graham as a miracle,” Sara said. “We had a long road with fertility specialists and no success, but then we conceived naturally and my pregnancy progressed without any major problems until my 20th week.”
That’s when her blood pressure soared dangerously high, and she gained 11 pounds of fluid in three days. By week 23, Sara was on bed rest and by week 25 she was hospitalized. At that point, Sara and her husband, Patrick, were briefed by doctors on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas’ Margot Perot Center for Women and Infants about what to expect with a premature birth.
“When the pain began I knew what was coming next, but I told my nurses it was too early to deliver,” Sara said. “They told me that I was dying and this was my only option.”
An emergency C-section was performed and Graham came out crying.
“I couldn’t believe how small he was. His arm was the size of my pinky,” said Patrick Murphy, Graham’s dad.
For the next four months, he was cared for by a team of physicians on the medical staff — neonatologists, pediatric radiologists, and surgeons, as well as nurses, respiratory therapists and other specialists.
“The team used their expertise to care for our son in ways that we could not,” Sara said. “They held team meetings with us to discuss progress and the future. There was rarely much good news, yet they delivered it with hope.”
But as Graham grew stronger, Sara and Patrick gained strength from the experienced and compassionate NICU team. They celebrated together after each successful surgery as well as his ventilator removal after two and a half months.
“The NICU Care team realizes the pivotal role that the parents have in the success of their infants’ progress,” said Christine Brooks, manager of the NICU at Texas Health Dallas. “The celebration of developmental milestones together with the family underscores the neonatal nurses’ expertise at developing both a professional and therapeutic relationship with the families; the cornerstone of our professional practice model for nursing at Texas Health Resources.”
In addition to his taekwondo, Graham is an avid baseball player and loves to play outdoors.
“He still sees doctors on a regular basis,” Sara said. “And though he’s small for his age I think the miracle that got him here is bigger than any of us. He is a true testament of God’s faithfulness.”
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