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Two families celebrate children’s survival
Jaden West - photo by For the Forsyth County News

CUMMING -- Two local families recently celebrated the continuing health of their premature babies and reunited with the medical staff at Northside Hospital System who cared for their children.

Northside’s annual Baby Alumni Birthday Party was held at Zoo Atlanta last month. The event offered free admission to the zoo for anyone born at the hospital. More than 5,000 people attended.

According to a news release from the hospital, the Abbott and West families of Forsyth County both came to celebrate their children, who were born prematurely.

The West family could not be reached for this article. But according to the release, Jaden West’s mother, Kimberly, did not know she was pregnant until she became sick at work and was rushed to Northside.

On the way, she had a seizure, and when she made it to the hospital, she found out she was 30 weeks pregnant. She had an emergency C-section, and Jaden, who is now 15 months old, is healthy, along with his mother.

MacKinzie Abbott was born at 27 weeks and weighed one pound and four ounces. She was on a ventilator, then an oscillator.

Her mother, Michele, was not able to hold her daughter until she was 10 days old. MacKinzie totaled twice in the neonatal intensive care unit.

When MacKinzie was 6 months old, she was released from the hospital, still weighing less than 5 pounds.

Even at home, she remained on oxygen during the day for 18 months and at night for two years.

However, Michele Abbott said MacKinzie is now a thriving and “really, really smart” preschooler.

“She knows all her colors and letters and how to spell her name,” Abbott said. “[She’s] a very active, social little girl that you would never know that she’s a preemie.”

Abbott credited the “unbelievable” staff at Northside, especially physician Andrew Martin Davey, with helping MacKinzie get healthy.

“She needed an aggressive doctor who took risks and took chances,” she said. “Having Dr. Davey as a doctor is definitely one reason why she is still here, along with all the nurses, who were incredible.”

Abbott said the family bonded with the nurses at Northside in Atlanta during their six-month stay and maintained a relationship after MacKinzie went home.

“Being there six months, we had our favorites, and if they were working, they would request to be with MacKinzie,” she said. “They knew us, they knew her, and that continuity of care was really important to us.

“Because when you have a little child, a little baby, in there, you want someone who knows her ins and outs. So if something is different, they can figure out why.”

Abbott said some of the nurses attended the baby alumni event and were impressed by MacKinzie’s health.

And even though the family now lives in Tennessee, they still come back to Northside every year on MacKinzie’s birthday to celebrate.