Little Garrett and Levi Kenny slept through all the hubbub Wednesday morning, even though the newborns were the stars of the show.
The identical twins, born preterm a week ago at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, are staying in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit just as their father did 26 years ago. Parents James and Sheridan Kenny, grandmother Susie Kenny and some of the hospital staff gathered Wednesday to talk about the two generations of Kenny family to be cared for at the Sierra Vista NICU.
“It’s so important to us that the same amazing care given to me is being given to them and more,” James Kenny said as he cradled Levi in his arms.
“Several nurses who work here now were here then (when James was born),” Sheridan Kenny said while cuddling Garrett. “They came around and wanted to see the babies. It’s really wonderful to have a hospital — and live in a community — where that happens.”
Stacy Smith was one of the nurses who popped in to see the twins. She cared for James and still works at Sierra Vista as a lactation consultant.
“I’ve seen Susie out and about in the community over the years and watched James grow up, so this is really neat to see,” Smith said.
Susie Kenny said that when James was born 12 weeks early, he was tiny and needed a ventilator to breathe, so Sierra Vista transferred him to UCSF Medical Center. After a month, he was flown back by medical transport to spend another month at Sierra Vista before finally going home to the family’s See Canyon Fruit Ranch.
Her eyes welling with tears, Susie recalled the day a nurse wheeled James off the plane in an incubator at the San Luis Obispo airport.
“He was so little,” she recalled. “It was a huge deal. It was like the rich and famous had landed. Well, it was true. I was rich, and he was famous.”
Garrett and Levi have it easier, born at 36 weeks and weighing 5 pounds. With some initial jaundice and breathing issues resolved, the boys are now getting the knack of breathing while nursing before they head home to Corbett Canyon in a week or two.
Today, the Sierra Vista NICU wouldn’t have to transfer a premature baby like James.
“We are coming up on our 20th year of the unit being the highest level NICU,” said Dr. Steve Van Scoy, the NICU medical director. “We’ve had more than 4,000 babies here who have stayed as little as one hour and as long as four months.”
As a Level 3, the Sierra Vista NICU has the capability to care for newborns who are critically ill or born as early as 23 weeks of age.
James Kenny said that since he and Sheridan weren’t able to take the boys home right away, it was comforting to have them staying in the NICU. And the twins are gaining weight nicely.
“They’re eating more and more each day,” he said. “That’s great because it means they’ll be able to come home that much sooner.”