Kristha is a mother of three who trusts her intuition. About halfway into this pregnancy, she noticed her body suddenly swelling. “A mom always knows. The swelling was excessive. My body didn’t feel right,” says 32-year-old Kristha. “We were very concerned.”
Kristha’s pregnancy was already considered high-risk because she is diabetic. At the
Perinatal Special Care Unit (PSCU) at Miller Children's Hospital Long Beach, she learned that she had developed preeclampsia, a serious condition that affects nearly eight percent of all pregnancies. Characterized by high blood pressure, preeclampsia may lead to dangerous – even fatal – complications for both the mother and her unborn child if left untreated.
“The only cure for preeclampsia is delivering the baby. For Kristha, it was too soon in her pregnancy. The baby needed more time to mature. Given that she was diabetic, we decided to admit her in the twenty-third week for close monitoring. We weren’t going to take any chances,” says Jennifer McNulty, M.D., maternal-fetal specialist, Miller Children’s.
READY TO RESPOND
Conveniently housed within Miller Children’s, the Center for Women serves more than 2,000 women with high-risk pregnancies each year. High-risk patients like Kristha find comprehensive treatment and compassionate care, from preconception planning through delivery and beyond by an expert team of specialists.
The PSCU offers advanced and continual fetal heart tracing through a state-of-art central monitoring system. Expectant moms can feel secure knowing that an in-house maternal-fetal specialist, along with a neonatologist and anesthesiologist, are available 24 hours a day, 7 days
Kristha entered the PSCU on October 18. Her condition seemed likely to worsen and force a very early delivery. “My care team at Miller Children’s is the reason my blood pressure stabilized,” recalls Kristha. On December 4, she was able to go home with the promise to return for weekly fetal monitoring and pregnancy check-ups.
“My C-section was scheduled for December 28,” says Kristha. “Michael had other plans. On December 26, during fetal testing, my doctors became concerned and moved my C-section to the following morning.”
Michael was born safely but prematurely, weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces. Immediately after birth, he was whisked down the hall to Miller Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which provides the highest level of care for premature and critically ill infants. For four days, just steps away from his mom, Michael received the highly specialized care he needed for the fluid in his lungs and jaundice.
Miller Children’s is one of only 22 hospitals in California to meet the strict requirements of a
Level III NICU. This designation validates that Miller Children’s and Women’s is one of the safest places for babies to begin life.
“By having a maternity center under the same roof as a full-service children’s hospital, we’ve designed a special environment of healing for mom and baby. Keeping them in close proximity enhances bonding during this very critical time,” says Dr. McNulty.
Kristha adds, “I had a calmness and serenity knowing Michael was just a short walk away. I could rest without having to worry – I could walk over to see him any time I wanted.”
HAPPY ENDING, BRIGHT BEGINNING
Since coming home on New Year’s Day, Michael has grown into a happy, strong and active baby. He eats well and adores his older siblings.
“Michael was born in December but he’s our 2014 miracle,” says Kristha. “We owe so much to
Miller Children’s. It’s the only hospital I will go to for maternity care and the only place I trust to take care of my children.”