Lauren and Pat Montenegro’s twins, Mia and Sofia, were both born 13 weeks early at 2lbs. 2oz. and only 13 inches long at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia.
An ultrasound performed by Dr. Arnold Cohen at 22 weeks indicated the twins were coming early. It was under the advice of Dr. Cohen that Lauren be admitted 5 weeks early for the well-being of her twin girls. During this time, the doctor administered steroids to Lauren to strengthen the girls’ lungs. He treated each week as a milestone and reassured Lauren throughout the nerve-racking process.
“He’s my 3rd favorite man after my father and my husband,” Montenegro says of Dr. Cohen. “He is amazing. I cannot rave enough. I love Dr. Cohen to pieces. I owe him so much.”
It was not only Dr. Cohen who made the Montenegros’ experience so encouraging and warm, but also the staff at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia.
“The nursing staff kept us calm, sane, and educated about the needs of our premature daughters. My husband and I became very close with the nursing staff. We even celebrated Christmas and New Year’s Eve with them!”
The amazing care the Montenegro’s and their newborn daughters received compelled them to give back. Lauren, an employee in Einstein’s Office of Development, had heard from Maryann Malloy, Nurse Manager at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Einstein Philadelphia, about the Journey Bead program implemented at the Montgomery campus. Because of her positive experience at Einstein Philadelphia, it became Montenegro’s mission to start the program at the same location where her twins were born. And because of her role in Development at Einstein, she knew it was possible.
According to Lauren, “The beads are more than just a decoration, they are symbolic of incredibly important landmarks in the lives of premature babies and their parent’s.” The Journey Bead Program features nearly 20 specialized glass beads that document a newborn’s NICU stay at Einstein. The beads highlight such triumphs as a child’s first clothing, first bath, first diaper, and first hold bead.
Lauren made a generous gift to the NICU to initiate the Journey Bead Program. She also requested Small Miracles, Einstein’s annual golf tournament that benefits the needs of the networks Pediatrics and NICU departments, support the Journey Bead Program for a year’s worth of funding. They accepted.
To Lauren, it will be a way for parents to explain to their children the journey they took as premature babies. “It’s a tangible item for parents and eventually the premature children to see their progress.” The beads and the beautiful necklaces they make are comforting and encouraging for the families.