Our Son’s Ride on a Helicopter: What Abby Means To Us

Disclosure :: Children’s Hospital of New Orleans is a sponsor of New Orleans Mom. That said, we are extremely grateful for life saving and critical help they provide patients, both locally and across the state of Louisiana. 

Our Son’s Ride on a Helicopter: What Abby Means To Us

When I was pregnant with my son Liam, I never would have thought that he would take his first helicopter ride at just a few weeks old. However, as we tell our now 8 year old about the time he flew in a helicopter, he is all ears and wide eyed wanting to know all about it. While it was a scary time for us, we are so grateful to have Children’s Hospital New Orleans and their helicopter “Abby.

Premature baby that needed critical transport by way of a helicopter to Children's Hospital of New Orleans. Liam was born at 27 weeks and was admitted to the NICU. Despite his early arrival and small size, he did well his first few weeks of life. During one of his daily assessments a nurse noticed that he developed a hernia. At first, we just kept an eye on it, but eventually it became an issue we may need to take care of immediately.

The NICU where Liam was at didn’t have a pediatric surgeon on staff. We were told that when he would need surgery, it would be done at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. The type of hernia that Liam had would require surgery, so the doctors and nurses kept an eye on it daily. Due to his small size, the surgeon didn’t want to operate until he hit four pounds. Once Liam weighed enough for surgery, the NICU team prepared us for his transfer to CHNOLA and made the necessary arrangements.

The Children's Hospital helicopter, Abby, provides transport to critically ill children.

The next morning, Liam took his helicopter ride. As soon as we exited our cars, we heard the helicopter. My husband and I made our way to the NICU to see him off before he left. The ride was rapid and efficient! Once we drove across town, Liam was all set up in his room in the NICU. The following days while he was in the NICU, I was able to see the helicopter take off and land multiple times. I would always silently say a prayer for that child and their family.

Living in the New Orleans area, we are so lucky to have Children’s Hospital New Orleans in our backyard. Children are flown here everyday to receive the best care available. I’m so grateful to have this hospital and transportation available in New Orleans to help children from all parts of Louisiana. CHNOLA has been such a big part of our lives since that helicopter ride and we will never grow tired of telling Liam about his ride on Abby.

Mary Olivio
Mary is a caffeine addicted boy mom to Noah, Liam and Luke. This “stay at home” mom can typically been found cruising in her minivan, jamming to Beyonce with a Starbucks in hand on her way to carpool or after school activities. Mary has been married to her high school sweetheart since 2007. She is a founder of Delivering Hope NOLA and the Vanessa Wolff Scholarship Fund at her Alma Mater. Mary is passionate in the local preemie community and has been heavily involved with the March of Dimes since her sons Liam and Luke were born premature.


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