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Patients in the Spotlight: Bre'ana Rawlins

NICU Graduate Continues to Make Her Family Proud

When Bre’ana Rawlins was delivered at 25 weeks gestation in June 1996, things did not look good. WeiBre'ana Rawlinsghing only 1lb 9 oz, she was immediately brought into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to be placed on a ventilator and connected to IVs and monitors, as well as a feeding tube.

Once Bre’ana’s mother Sabrina was discharged, she came back to the hospital and spent her days and nights there with her baby girl. Seventeen years later, Sabrina continues to speak highly of the care that Bre’ana received during her stay at the hospital and the positivity that was exuded by all of the staff. “I would walk down the hall and people would pop their heads out of all different rooms to tell me ‘I’m praying for Bre’ana!’ and I found that to be so encouraging.” 

Towards the end of her NICU stay, Bre’ana had become known to be a little rambunctious, as she would continually yank on her feeding and breathing tubes. “She definitely kept the alarms going off,” Bre’ana’s mom joked, “but because of how rambunctious she was, everyone knew she was going to be all right.” In September of that year, after three months in the NICU, Bre’ana was sent home with her parents, just about the time of her initial due date.

Bre’ana and her family have recently returned to the Rochester area after living in Pennsylvania for several years. At their first initial school meeting, Bre’ana’s counselor told Sabrina that she was not worried about Bre’ana integrating herself into a new school and that she was going to be just fine. She recently completed her junior year at Eastridge High School. As an honors student, she excels in all of her coursework. While most parents receive calls from school faculty when there is trouble, Bre’ana’s counselor calls her mom to let her know what a wonderful young girl Bre’ana is, and how she continues to be an asset to the school.

Now, 17 years old, and headed into her senior year, Bre’ana stands at just about 5”2, but don’t let her height fool you. She plays soccer, runs track and enjoys being active. She has a love for fashion and dreams of moving to New York City to pursue a modeling career. For now she plans to graduate high school and attend college, possibly at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. Her fascination with the human eye has influenced her hopes to someday become an optometrist.

“You would never know she had been so premature; she has no deficiencies,” said her mother. The only reminder is a scar just under her armpit from tubes she had in the NICU, but as Bre’ana’s mother likes to put it, “that’s just a reminder that she’s a miracle baby.”