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Born a preemie, Lincoln tot reunited with Sutter NICU doctors, nurses

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Little Isla Mitchelson from Lincoln, who spent three weeks in the Sutter Roseville Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit, was reunited with the nurses and doctors who cared for her at the NICU Reunion Oct. 29 at the medical center. Isla was due in November 2010. However, she was born eight weeks early on Sept. 21, weighing four pounds, seven ounces. Her mother, Christen Mitchelson, realized she couldn’t feel her baby moving in her womb. Her obstetrician, Denise Sweeney, immediately scheduled Mitchelson for a stress test. The results were alarming. Mitchelson was admitted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center’s Family Birth Center for an emergency caesarean section. A team of specialists delivered Isla. They found the umbilical cord in a knot, wrapped around Isla’s neck, along with a loss of the life-sustaining amniotic fluid and a very low blood level. Once delivered, Isla was rushed to the NICU and placed on a ventilator to help her breathe. She also underwent several blood transfusions. Christen Mitchelson and her husband, Mark Mitchelson, visited Isla every day and watched the milestones — first Isla came off the ventilator to breathe on her own, then she came off the feeding tube. After three weeks of specialized care, the tiny baby was ready to go home. Christen Mitchelson, a former pediatric intensive care nurse, said that being on the other side of patient care was an interesting experience. “Isla got great care in the NICU,” she said. “I wouldn’t have wanted her anywhere else.” Now a happy, healthy 13 month-old, Isla was one of 100-plus “graduates” of the NICU who gathered with their families to thank their nurses and doctors for saving their young lives during the NICU Reunion. Many of these children were born preemies with extremely low birth weight – including twins, triplets and quadruplets. The 16-bed Level III NICU is supported by board-certified neonatologists and nurses with special certification in caring for premature or ill babies. The reunion celebrated life. Among the activities the children participated in on the Harvest Festival theme was a cupcake walk, beanbag toss and a diaper derby, along with photo opportunities in a pumpkin patch and “fishing” for prizes. Sutter Roseville Medical Center is affiliated with Sutter Health, a not-for-profit, community-based health system located throughout Northern California. For more information on Sutter Roseville Medical Center, visit sutterroseville.org. Sutter Roseville is at One Medical Plaza Drive in Roseville.