Mighty Strength Comes in Small Packages

MaeWhen Kaitlyn and Stewart learned they were expecting another baby, the whole family was elated. Their only child, Ella, would gain the sister she always dreamt of having. The couple desired a large family to fill their home with love and laughter, so this next step was an incredible milestone in their plans.

During Kaitlyn’s 28week anatomy scan, doctors noticed the baby was measuring smaller than expected. The baby was experiencing what Kaitlyn’s obstetrician (OB) referred to as “restrictive fetal growth.” She was referred to Dr. James Hill, director of the maternal-fetal medicine department at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio for specialized care.

Kaitlyn and Stewart immediately felt at ease knowing they were in capable hands with Dr. Hill and his team.

Mae“Dr. Hill’s personality is one of kind. He’s smart and direct, but also capable of making you feel extremely comfortable. We knew we made the right choice,” said Kaitlyn.

Although the baby was still small, she continued growing as doctors kept a close eye on her for the next several weeks.

When Kaitlyn was 36 weeks pregnant, an ultrasonic umbilical artery doppler test showed an elevated reading. This doppler gauges the resistance of fetal blood flow as it travels through the placenta. The high reading could be a sign that the baby was in distress. Dr. Hill was brought in for a consult and decided it would be best for Kaitlyn to deliver at 37 weeks.

The day before Kaitlyn’s scheduled delivery, another doppler reading was performed. The reading proved to be even higher than the week prior. Dr. Hill’s team decided Kaitlyn would give birth that very day.

Dr. Peter Hsu, obstetrician and gynecologist at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, delivered baby Mae via cesarean section. The birth itself was perfect. Mother and baby were doing well and preparing to be reunited. Shortly after delivery, doctors noticed Mae was not breathing correctly and her heartbeat was not where it should be.

“We were so ready to meet our little girl and the next thing we knew, Mae was being rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU),” Stewart, Mae’s dad, remembers. “We learned Mae’s lungs had not fully developed and at that point, all we could do was pray for our baby girl. We knew we had the best possible team caring for Mae.”

Mae’s godmother began to call her “Mighty Mae,” and rightfully so.

MaeWhile Mae remained in the NICU, Stewart was down the road at a hotel taking care of Ella, their oldest daughter, when he got a call from Kaitlyn that Mae’s condition had worsened. Stewart arrived at the hospital and found his wife at Mae’s bedside, surrounded by a team of nurses and doctors. Mae was put on a feeding tube and had umbilical catheters placed in her umbilical vein to provide a safe and effective route for medications and fluids. At two days old, Mae was placed on a ventilator to help with her breathing issues. She was declining rapidly and not making any improvements.

After 72 hours, baby Mae turned a corner and began to improve. Kaitlyn was able to get a room at the Ronald McDonald House inside The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio for the next 10 days to be close to Mae while she remained in the NICU. Stewart was close by with the rest of their family.

“From beginning to end, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio was phenomenal. We truly felt like family to every Associate who walked through Mae’s hospital room doors,” said Kaitlyn. “Drs. Maria Pierce, Sowmya Mohan, and Cody Henderson, and all the nurses and staff were absolutely incredible. Even Dr. Hsu, who delivered Mae, checked on her in the NICU every day.”

MaeToday, Mae is at home with her big sister, soaking in all the snuggles she can get. She continues to gain weight and has made a miraculous recovery.

“We hope to have another baby within the next year or so, and even if I have an uncomplicated pregnancy, I’m going to deliver at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. I know from experience how important it is to have a plan in case something goes wrong,” said Kaitlyn.

While it’s still unclear what caused baby Mae to go into distress, Kaitlyn and Stewart are sure they made the right call by choosing The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

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