|PATIENT STORY: TWINS J.D. (LEFT) AND NOA
(RIGHT) WERE BORN AT 31 WEEKS OF
MARISSA'S PREGNANCY. MARISSA SPENT
47 DAYS IN EDWARD'S ANTEPARTUM UNIT.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Sometimes it takes a lot of people just to get baby and mom from conception to a healthy, happy delivery. This is especially true for pregnancies considered high risk because of mom's age or health conditions, genetic abnormalities, obstetric complications, use of drugs or alcohol or other factors.
At the Edward Perinatology Center, specialists in high-risk pregnancies work with these patients and their OB/GYNs to develop and carry out a plan of care. If the baby requires special care, a neonatologist also is consulted.
Avoiding pre-term labor (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) is a common challenge in perinatology, also known as maternal fetal medicine, according to Donald Taylor, DO, Medical Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Edward Hospital and a perinatologist with Suburban Maternal Fetal Medicine.
"About 12 percent of pregnancies involve a threat of pre-term labor," says Dr. Taylor. "Though some babies survive before 24 weeks, that's usually considered the point of viability. Every additional few weeks the pregnancy continues means a big jump in the baby's chances of being okay. There is a big jump from 24 to 28 weeks and another from 28 to 34 weeks.”
One of the center’s patients who had such a concern was Marissa Wright of Naperville, who was pregnant with twins – a boy and a girl. At 15 weeks, the sac of amniotic fluid surrounding her baby boy ruptured and she was put on bed rest. But when another problem occurred, Marissa was hospitalized for additional support in prolonging the pregnancy. She spent 47 days in Edward's antepartum unit.
Marissa believes her long stay was made easier, and the outcome for her family better, as a result of her faith and positive comments to the babies from her and the Edward staff.
The extra efforts by the hospital staff also helped boost Marissa's spirits. They arranged for massages and the unit's social worker helped her family and friends throw a baby shower in the hospital.
Marissa's and husband Doug's twins – Noa and her brother J.D. – were born on November 1, 2010, at 31 weeks of Marissa’s pregnancy.
"I don't think the pregnancy would have lasted that long if it weren't for the staff at Edward,” says Marissa. “And J.D. exceeded everyone's expectations. He did very well for being without (amniotic) fluid for such a long time."
According to Dr. Taylor, "We doctors couldn't do the job of caring for these moms and their babies without a team of healthcare professionals. This includes nurses, genetic counselors, diabetes counselors, social workers, dietitians, physical therapists, child life specialists, chaplains and staff in the nurseries."
When asked how it felt to bring her babies home, Marissa said, "Better than I ever thought, even with everything we went through. My son is still on oxygen and has some feeding issues. But even at frustrating moments, I think, 'You will have a victory on this, J.D., like you did on everything else.’"
To learn more about the Edward Perinatology Center, visit www.edward.org/SpecialCarePregnancies.