Lorenzo Carter Hill will celebrate his fifth birthday this September, but they are still talking about his infancy in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, at UF Health Jacksonville. In 2017, Lorenzo spent more than six months in the NICU after being born premature, and his mother, Nicole Hill, calls him her miracle baby.
“Oh, of course we still remember Lorenzo,” said Samarth Shukla, MD, medical director of the newborn nursery at UF Health Jacksonville. “He had such a happy outcome.”
Nicole was just over 23 weeks pregnant when Lorenzo decided it was time to come into the world. Normally, babies carried to term are delivered around 40 weeks. If they are delivered at 37 weeks or sooner, they’re considered premature. At only 23 weeks, Lorenzo was born very early and in a serious situation.
“We tried to delay delivery,” Nicole said, recalling his birth. “But he was determined.”
While Lorenzo fought for his life, the staff at UF Health Jacksonville worked hard to treat him and help him meet certain milestones to improve his health and be able to function on his own. Lorenzo faced numerous challenges, including the need for a ventilator to give him assistance breathing. He also needed other procedures and medications to keep his cardiac function strong.
“There were good days and there were very, very bad days,” said Ashley Higgs, RN, Lorenzo’s primary nurse in the NICU at UF Health Jacksonville. “Our teams worked together to ensure that Lorenzo received the care he needed, and Nicole was with Lorenzo every step of the way.”