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Once a year, Lovelace Women’s Hospital welcomes families and former patients for a reunion unlike any other. As they unload out of cars with strollers, diaper bags, blankets, and bottles, those who were once our smallest of patients come back for an opportunity to see the doctors, nurses and staff of the NICU – their first home. It is an event Robynn Salazar didn’t think would be on her calendar year after year following the arrival of her first daughter, Zoey, a healthy full-term baby girl, but she makes the 230 mile trip every year with her family.

Settling into parenthood in those first few months, Robynn discovered she had developed Type 2 diabetes. “This was not a surprise to me as my mom, dad and brother are also Type 2 diabetics,” she says. Looking at her new baby, she couldn’t help to think of future siblings. “That did put a hamper on my thoughts of having another baby,” Robynn admits.

Robynn and her husband discussed their future dreams to expand their family and decided to wait until Zoey was older to pursue pregnancy under the guidance of her health care provider. “We waited until Zoey was 4 and decided it may be time due to my blood sugars were under control,” she says. Soon after they learned they were expecting again. Robynn’s doctor advised her to find a doctor who could manage her blood sugar levels throughout her pregnancy, which led her to Dr. Carl Connor at Lovelace Women’s Hospital.

“He told me flat out it would be a rough journey, but everything would be fine,” she recalls. “He then referred me to Dr. Headstrom and a diabetic doctor at her office.”

Realizing this pregnancy would be different from her first, Robynn was prepared for a few unknowns – just not what happened during her first sonogram. “The tech stated to me ‘there is baby A and there is baby B’, to my surprise I was having twins,” Robynn joyfully remembers.

Robynn called her family and shared the big news, while her doctors worked on a plan to get her and the twins safely to her due date, June 4, 2009. “But on May 26,” she adds, “I went to a weekly routine checkup and was told that my blood pressure was up and they would be delivering today.”

Later that afternoon at 4:40 p.m. 6 pound 10 oz Gavin Lee Salazar was born, followed by his sister,  6 pound 8 oz Ava Aurora Salazar at 4:42 p.m. “Both seemed healthy, but were taken to the NICU to be monitored,” Robynn says of briefly seeing her twins for the first time.

Once Robynn had recovered from her c-section to visit baby Gavin and baby Ava, she admits she was taken aback the first time in the NICU. “It is a lot to take in at that point,” she says. “My first child weighted 8 pounds 12 oz.  Ava didn't want to eat and Gavin had some jaundice.” Under the care of neonatologist Dr. Mary Olguin, the Salazar twins were ready to go home.

To ensure there were no complications with their transition out of the NICU, the Salazars stayed in Albuquerque for a few days, before starting on their long journey home to Raton. “A trip that would have taken us 3 hours took us almost 5 1/2 hours to get home,” she says of taking it very slowly with her precious cargo.

“I can't thank the nurses and Drs. for giving my babies the best care ever,” says Robynn. “We look forward to the reunion every year to catch up with some of the family's, doctors and nurses.  You all do such a great job with all.  Thanks for all that the hospital does for all the babies that are born at Lovelace!!!!”

Lovelace Women's Hospital will be hosting families by invitation to the annual NICU Reunion Saturday, September 7.

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