Katie Meyer-Cushing holds her son Peter, who has been in the Brigham’s NICU since August 2016.

Katie Meyer-Cushing holds her son Peter, who has been in the Brigham’s NICU since August 2016.

Peter Cushing was born in August 2016 at 26 weeks gestation, and he’s had a home in the BWH NICU ever since, first in the newly redesigned space and now in the Growth and Development Unit (GDU).

“We were very lucky to have one of the new private spaces, which allowed for a safe and nurturing environment,” said Katie Meyer-Cushing, Peter’s mom. “We couldn’t always hold him, but we could sit and be near him.”

Peter’s family and nurses personalized the space around his isolette with artwork, photos and words of encouragement, and they continue to add to the collection.

“He’s been surrounded by love from the beginning,” said Lillian O’Leary, RN, one of Peter’s nurses. “There’s always been a positive energy in that room.”

Individual space allowed Peter’s family to spend uninterrupted time with him when he was at his sickest, said O’Leary. And when Peter was healthy enough to be held, the privacy of the room provided his family with the opportunity to hold Peter skin-to-skin (kangaroo care) for long periods of time.

The new space also created a way for Peter’s family to get to know the care team better, and for them to get to know him. Peter loves to be held, enjoys listening to baby lullabies on Pandora and is comforted by his nurses and family reading the book “Little Blue Truck.”
“Our miracle is Peter,” said Meyer-Cushing, “He had everything against him for awhile.”

From major events like surgeries and procedures to the small but meaningful details of everyday care, Meyer-Cushing witnessed the remarkable collaboration among Peter’s care team in delivering, what was at times, very complex care.

“The staff interactions have been amazing to watch,” said Meyer-Cushing. “They all present very calmly and work well together as an interdisciplinary team.”

From the large, individual space to the way the light comes into the room, the redesigned unit offers a more peaceful environment for Peter and all NICU babies to receive care and for the team to provide care, says O’Leary.

Peter is now in the GDU or “step-down” area, where he still has a private room due to his care needs, and will likely be going home in
a month.