Special care in Vail in the first days of life | VailDaily.com

Special care in Vail in the first days of life

Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyMartina Lettovska, a nurse at the Vail Valley Medical Center, holds Zoey Archibeque while talking to Joel Blackmer, left, and mother Stephanie Archibeque, right.

VAIL, Colorado ” Molly Neifert’s youngest daughter, Jenna, is now a healthy, happy 2-year-old.

But Molly acknowledged that, without care from the special “Level II” nursery in Vail, Colorado, there’s a chance Jenna wouldn’t be with us today.

Jenna was born two months early in 2006.

“If it hadn’t been for the fact they had the new nursery there, Jenna probably wouldn’t have made it, she was so premature,” Molly Neifert said.

Without the advanced-level nursery in Vail, Jenna would have had to be airlifted to Denver. Instead, Jenna went to Vail’s Level II nursery, where she stayed for over a month.

“The women there are amazing,” said Molly Neifert, who returns each year to the nursery on Jenna’s birthday to thank the doctors and nurses.

During the month that Jenna was in the nursery, Molly was able to live at home in Eagle and continue to care for her other three children.

Things would have been much more difficult for the Neifert family if Jenna had been in a Denver hospital, Molly said.

The Level II nursery celebrated its five-year anniversary this month with a reunion at Eagle-Vail Pavilion in Eagle-Vail. The nursery has cared for some 600 babies over those five years, said Linda Whitner, a neonatal nurse practitioner at the nursery.

The nursery cares for babies who are born up to eight week premature. It also looks after other babies who need some extra care or treatment after birth. They may need special medicine, an incubator or help with feeding.

The Vail nursery is the only Level II nursery in this area of the mountains.

For Whitner, it’s tough to have to send babies and mothers all the way to Denver, to a strange, big city far from their homes and families.

“That’s probably the hardest part of my job,” she said.

While babies that need a Level III nursery still have to go to Denver, the Level II nursery in Vail has kept hundreds of babies and mothers here in the mountains for care.

Julie Gaca’s twins, now healthy 10-month-olds, were born as preemies in Vail, and were also cared for at the Level II nursery.

They stayed there for 12 days. During that time, Gaca was able to either stay in the hospital overnight with her children or go home.

“It was great care,” Gaca said, of Avon.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.

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