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Patients in the Spotlight: Olivia Celso

Extremely Premature Baby Makes Miraculous Recovery

Olivia in the NICUFrom day one, Krista Celso knew her baby girl Olivia would be a fighter. She had to be. When Olivia was born at Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center on Oct. 26, 2010, Olivia weighed a mere 510 grams – or a little more than 1 lb. She was born at only 23 weeks and 3 days, placing her in the category of extreme prematurity.

Olivia was incredibly delicate, and anyone caring for her had to be extra gentle. Premature babies’ skin is very fragile and they lose a lot of water through it, due to evaporation. Her lungs were also weak, to the point where they could have collapsed at any minute. Olivia was placed on a jet ventilator, a unique machine that provides better gas exchange than other ventilators. The ventilator uses less pressure, by moving oxygen into the lungs and carbon dioxide out on a molecular level. Olivia needed heart surgery to close a patent ductus arteriosus, a blood vessel that failed to close normally after birth, when she was only 6-weeks-old.

Patricia Chess, M.D., associate professor of Neonatology at Golisano Children’s Hospital, was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) the night Olivia was born.

“I was involved in the first few weeks of her life,” said Chess. “It is a very critical time for babies because their skin and lungs are very weak and underdeveloped and have to mature quickly.”

Krista is ever thankful for the all of the medical personnel at Golisano Children’s Hospital that cared for her baby girl, especially Dr. Chess.

"Dr. Chess has a very caring way about her. The first few weeks in the NICU are very scary, but I always felt comforted when she was there,” said Celso. “She made it easier for me to go into the NICU and understand what was going on. She could never do enough for Olivia.”

Olivia at 1On March 4, 2010, Olivia left the hospital, free of ventilators and oxygen. But at the end of the month, she returned to Golisano Children’s Hospital to have laser eye surgery to treat retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) – abnormal blood muscle development in the retina of the eye. Left untreated, ROP can cause blindness. Olivia’s eye doctor, Brian P. Connolly, M.D., of Retina Associates of Western New York, wanted to do the surgery at the hospital in case she had breathing issues from anesthesia.

Olivia’s beautiful eyes have since developed tremendously. Olivia also no longer needs to take medication for her GI reflux , another common problem for premature infants.

While this miracle baby girl has taken many positive steps, she faces some struggles with drinking from a bottle, a common problem among premature babies. The bottle reminds them of the tough times they had in their first few weeks of life. But, Olivia is eating all kinds of pureed baby food, and even some foods that are a little more textured such as chicken and turkey. This is an incredible accomplishment and a great sign for a baby born as prematurely as she was.

Today, Olivia is a happy, healthy little girl. She crawls, claps, waves goodbye, and shares her infectious smile with anyone who sees her. She is an inspiration. Celso is ever grateful for the care she and her daughter received during their 131 days at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

“She received the most compassionate and wonderful care from the nurses, residents, fellows and neonatologists while in the NICU,” shared Celso. “I credit each and every person in the NICU with saving my daughter’s life.”