A Chance at Motherhood 

This post is written and sponsored by University Health.

After your baby arrives, you’ll likely pick a favorite story to read to them again and again. Most parents tell you that even when their baby has grown, they still remember every word.

At University Health (UH), we also hear a common story again and again. It comes from new parents who didn’t expect to have a pregnancy with complications. They tell how frightening it was to learn they had a high-risk pregnancy and how their doctors, at other medical centers near and far, referred them to the maternal fetal medicine (MFM) specialists at UH. Thanks to the high-level of expertise, these stories often end happily, with a healthy mom and baby.

New parents Allisa and Clayton Gabel hoped they were heading toward their storybook ending. The couple had already experienced the painful loss of a baby girl during a second trimester miscarriage. Pregnant for the second time, Allisa got upsetting news during a 16-week sonogram at another medical center. The doctor told her that her cervix was already dilated to a two, and if she delivered too soon the result would be devastating. “I would have lost the baby,” she recalls. 

The next morning, Allisa had another sonogram after being referred to the high-risk specialists at UH. Later she learned that one of the MFM specialists, Emily Williams, MD cancelled a trip to care for her. “I am forever grateful for that,” Allisa said. 

Dr. Williams, along with fellow maternal fetal medicine specialist Traci Johnson, MD quickly came up with a care plan. “We determined that a procedure known as a cervical cerclage was necessary to stop Allisa from delivering pre-term,” said Dr. Williams. This procedure is a way of keeping your cervix closed during pregnancy to prevent premature birth, keeping the fetus safe inside the uterus until it’s time to give birth.

The cervical cerclage procedure stopped Allisa’s labor, but not the terrifying fear that she might lose another baby. She leaned on husband Clayton, and the specialists at UH, for emotional support. “The UH Women’s Care team was there for me, every step of the way. They were invested in my case,” said Allisa.

“Ensuring a healthy pregnancy for Allisa, and all of the other patients we treat, isn’t a job, it’s a calling,” said Dr. Johnson. UH’s high-risk pregnancy team is made up of a team of dedicated specialists. The physicians are board-certified OBGYNs with additional training that prepares them for the toughest cases. “The pregnant people we treat come to us for a variety of issues. If you’re living with a chronic condition, like diabetes or high blood pressure, we want to see you. If you had a previous pregnancy end negatively, we can help. If you’re expecting multiples, this is the team to care for you,” said Dr. Williams. “We know that your physician’s referral to a high-risk specialist can be upsetting, so don’t think of the referral as disappointing, but rather as a chance to see a team to care for you.”  

Allisa’s team got her all the way to 40-weeks of pregnancy. Baby Ava arrived healthy, and while she’s almost six months old, she’s still deciding which delightful bedtime story is her favorite.

Visit the University Health website to learn more about MFM specialists. 

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