While infant daughter, Taylor, was hospitalized for nearly two months after open heart surgery, mom, Tori, had to return home to Greensboro to work and care for her other children, but caregivers at N.C. Children's Hospital kept her part of her daughter's care across the miles.

Heartwarming: Nurses keep Greensboro mom connected to her baby from afar

Taylor was born with breathing problems so severe she was airlifted from her hometown hospital in Greensboro, N.C., to N.C. Children's Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Taylor had surgery that same day and open-heart surgery less than a week later. She then spent nearly two months at the Children's Hospital—first in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and then the cardiac intermediate care center (CICC) on 5 Children's—recovering from her surgeries.

Her mother, Tori, could not stay in Chapel Hill with her newborn daughter but had to return home to work and care for her other children. Yet, thanks to the nurses at the Children's Hospital, she felt a part of Taylor's care and recovery, even when she could not be at her baby's bedside.

"They told me everything; I did not have to ask," says Tori. "They called and kept me informed every day, and that means a lot when you cannot be with your baby 24 hours a day. They would even call me in the middle of the night if they needed to."

Tori adds she also appreciates the level of care Taylor received.

"The nurses were wonderful," says Tori. "They took great care of her. UNC is a great hospital. They take very good care of their patients."

Today 11-months-old Taylor is a thriving girl who enjoys trying to keep up with her older brother and sister. Her most recent ultrasound in July, according to Tori, was excellent, and her cardiologist, Dr. Scott Buck, was able to decrease her medication.

"The cardiologist said it looks perfect, even better than the last ultrasound, which was also really good," reports Tori. "In fact, everything is going great with Taylor. She had a rough time there for a while, but everyone did an excellent job, and it's really easing up now."

Easing up health wise, perhaps, but Taylor is really giving her mom the runaround these days.

"She just started crawling this past weekend," laughs Tori. "She's was a little bit behind development-wise, which was expected because of all the time spent in the hospital, but she's just taking off."

Taylor doesn't have to travel far for follow-up care. She is able to see N.C. Children's Hospital cardiologists at their office in Greensboro.

"It is really nice to be able to see her UNC doctors so close to home," says Tori.

And the news keeps getting better. Tori reports Taylor's next follow-up visit is in October, during which Dr. Buck hopes to take her off of one of her medications, leaving her with just one.

More about Taylor

Hometown: Greensboro, NC; Guilford County — about 100 miles roundtrip
Diagnosis: Congenital heart defect; transposition of the great arteries
Primary pediatric specialties: Cardiology; cardiothoracic surgery; anesthesiology
Other pediatric specialties seen: Critical care medicine; general pediatrics; occupational therapy; speech therapy for feeding
Frequency of visits: Every three months at UNC's pediatric cardiology satellite clinic in Greensboro.
Favorite caregivers: Melissa Illig, PICU nurse, plus Casey, Kathy, Terri, and Lindy, also PICU nurses
Sara Dietz, speech therapist
Everyone in pediatric cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, including surgical nurse practitioner, Karla Brown, and Dr. Michael Mill
Favorite thing about N.C. Children's Hospital: "They kept me inform of everything that was going on with her. I had to leave the hospital at night, but if anything was going on, even if it was 1:30 in the morning, they would call." ~ Taylor's mom, Tori

Cardiology care at N.C. Children's Hospital

The pediatric cardiology group practices through the N.C. Children's Heart Center centered at North Carolina Children's Hospital. It is the largest children's heart program in the state, offering innovative treatment to more than half of the state's pediatric heart patients.

The division's extramural clinical program is comprised of regional outreach clinics in several North Carolina cities, including outpatient clinics in Burlington, Cary, Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Greensboro, Raleigh, Rutherfordton and Wilmington. Learn more about pediatric cardiology at UNC.

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