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A year of firsts

Anika: first baby admitted into the NICU

In year one, 490 babies born at The Mother Baby Center were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Every birth has some drama, but Anika Hubbard’s birth may have had more than most.

It started when prenatal tests revealed she had spina bifida, a condition characterized by incomplete development of the spinal cord. That made planning for her birth complicated, especially since her family lives in the middle of South Dakota. That’s a good eight-hour drive from The Mother Baby Center where doctors referred them for the high level of care that Anika and her mom, Kassandra, required.

Weeks before the birth, her parents, Kassandra and William, moved in with a cousin in Minnesota, and a Caesarian section was scheduled for Feb. 5, 2013 to ensure a safe delivery and follow-up care for Anika. All was well until Feb. 4, when Kassandra suddenly went into labor.

By the time the couple arrived at The Mother Baby Center, a building that combines Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s maternal and fetal services with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s pediatric specialty care, contractions were five minutes apart. Kassandra was rushed into an operating room and became the first mom to deliver by C-section at The Mother Baby Center, which had just opened that day, while Anika was the first baby admitted to the NICU from The Mother Baby Center.

Within a few hours, Kassandra was wheeled into the NICU to meet her daughter. “You want what every mom wants, so it was hard to see her with tubes and bandages everywhere. But we got to see her, touch her and hold her hand,” recalled Kassandra.

But Anika’s dramatic entry was still unfolding. Just eight hours after her birth, she had neurosurgery to protect exposed spinal cord tissue and minimize the risk of infection. Fortunately, Anika healed quickly from surgery and was soon eating, gaining weight and responding to her parents like any healthy newborn.

Anika needed a second surgery before she went home at the age of 3 weeks. There she continued to amaze her parents with her happy demeanor, good appetite and willingness to sleep through the night at just 6 weeks old.  Now, as Anika turns 1, her mom said she is continuing to make progress and grow every day. “She’s a strong little personality and very determined,” said Kassandra. “She’s making great strides, and I don’t think anything will hold her back.

“We know she’s doing so well today because of the great care she received at The Mother Baby Center and then Children’s. We’re grateful to all the staff who provided exceptional care to her, and me.”










All about Anika

Favorite food: Strawberry yogurt
First word: Da-da-da-da (in different pitches and tones)
Most recent milestone: Army crawl
Favorite toy: Bunny rattle
What makes her laugh: The family dog
Most resembles: It changes month to month, but she has her dad’s eyes: beautiful blue eyes that stare into your soul

See and learn more about The Mother Baby Center.