Piper Woody, portrait

In their words

Anna and Derik Woody
Oxford, Iowa

“We first became involved with UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital in the fall of 2016 when a routine 20-week ultrasound couldn’t locate our daughter’s stomach bubble. We were referred to University of Iowa Health Care because of the complex severity of our daughter’s health concerns. At our initial appointment we met with a high risk obstetrician, neonatologists, and a pediatric surgery team.

Our daughter, Piper, was born on Feb. 4, 2017. She was born with a rare condition called esophageal atresia (EA) and we had no idea what to expect. We were lucky enough to find out during pregnancy that there was a high probability of her having EA.

Starting with the first meetings with her surgeon, neonatologists, genetics, labor and delivery, and everyone else while still pregnant, they eased our fears and anxiety while answering all of our questions and then some. Once she was born, they immediately took Piper into the NICU where they began tests to determine what type of EA she had, as well as placing IVs and tending to her care in other ways. We had no idea of the roller coaster ride we had in store.

We spent the next 172 days in the NICU where we grew extremely close to the staff – they continually reassuring us that everything was okay, we could do her cares, and that despite all of the tubes we could touch and hold her. Like most kids in the NICU, she did have a few emergent situations in which we were grateful for the fast-acting staff. During those 172 days we spent some holidays, milestones, and birthdays in the hospital, but again the staff helped us celebrate and make them as special as they could have being in the hospital.

Since being discharged we’ve had 12 outpatient surgeries/procedures, countless tests, and five admissions – not to mention the clinic appointments and weekly speech and physical therapy appointments. The dedication and passion that the pediatric surgery team has amazes me each and every time, leaving me awe of how much they care about each of their patients. Every single person on Piper’s health care team makes us feel this way. Having such a wonderful resource, that one hopes they never have to utilize, that is so close to our home is priceless and very much appreciated.

We’ve spent more than 185 nights in the hospital over the last year, with experiences in NICU, PICU, Level 9, and Level 10 stays. Our family cannot say enough positive things about UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

We always tell everyone that UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital is “our home away from home.” The staff is caring and compassionate towards the patients and their families, always making us feel welcomed and trying to make us as comfortable as possible given the circumstances.”

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