Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Level IV NICU is a welcoming home for Hawaiian preemie

Although Axton Worth was born in Hawaii, he is spending his first Christmas at Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) so that mother Monica Rodriguez Worth, who is from Corpus Christi, can have some family support.

CORPUS CHRISTI – For Hawaiian preemie Axton Worth, Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is the place to be this holiday season.

With his baby’s first Christmas blanket wrapped around him and visits from Santa and various elves, Axton is ready to spend Christmas knowing he is getting the best healthcare possible.

Axton was delivered at 33 weeks and was born April 13, 2020, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is going to require several surgeries. The first surgery was completed in Hawaii, but treatment continues at Driscoll’s Level IV NICU.

Axton’s mother, Monica Rodriguez Worth, is from Corpus Christi, so she decided to come back home in order to have some family support. Axton has been at Driscoll since Oct. 12.

“We’ve celebrated all major holidays so far in the NICU and they have gone above and beyond to help us feel the holiday joy in this difficult time,” said Worth. 

Axton had his latest surgery on Dec. 8, performed by Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Surgeon Shannon Koehler. He spent two days doing post-operative recovery in Driscoll’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), but he is now back in the NICU.

Level IV NICU preemie Axton Worth recently had a visit at Driscoll Children’s Hospital from Santa and various elves. From left: Jenny McPherson, Phillip Spencer, Casey Becker, and Adrianna Morgan greet Axton.

A NICU Level IV offers the highest level of care for babies. It has a clinical team taking care of babies who need special surgery for birth defects and other disorders. It also has a full range of healthcare providers, including pediatric subspecialists, specialized nurses and equipment to care for very sick babies.

Worth feels safe and secure knowing that Driscoll’s NICU offers the highest care possible for infants.

“The staff has been amazing and they have listened to all my concerns and questions. My concerns are addressed immediately and I feel like I’m part of the team to get Axton better,” she said.

Worth is hoping Axton will be able to leave the NICU in a couple of months and will be home for his first birthday. In the meantime, she is impressed by the friendliness in the NICU.

“Axton has been receiving so much love and attention. He has had plenty of staff visitors even when he is not their patient to say hello and play. He is a happy and active baby and does not know a stranger,” she said.

Worth has some words of advice for other moms who might find themselves with their babies in the NICU.

“It’s rough in the beginning but it will get better once a routine is made and once you remember to put Mom first and last. You need to be emotionally and physically well to take these new challenges on and ask all the questions no matter how small.”