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    Patient Stories
    Sutter Children's Center, Sacramento

    Alexandria - Miracle Baby

    Alexandria -
    Alexandria - Miracle Baby

    Yvonne remembers that Thursday as if it were yesterday. She knows exactly what she was wearing and how hot it was. And she remembers how shocked and scared she felt when her water broke -- 16 weeks early.

    The early stages of Yvonne's pregnancy gave no indication for concern. It was just like her first pregnancy, which produced her healthy daughter, Emily. Yvonne and her husband, Steve, were looking forward to the birth of their second child, due in October. When Yvonne's water broke at Emily's swimming lessons in June, they could hardly believe what was happening. "Steve was convinced I had just been splashed by someone in the pool," Yvonne said. "And even though I knew what it was, I couldn't fully comprehend that it was happening to me at that moment."

    The doctors and staff at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento did everything they could to keep Yvonne's baby from being born that day, since a baby that premature had little chance of surviving. They gave her magnesium sulfate and steroid shots and inclined her bed so her feet were higher than her head. "It was awful," Yvonne said. "Aside from feeling sick and being uncomfortable, I was consumed with worry for my baby."

    For three days, they managed to delay labor. But then Yvonne felt a strange pressure. She told the doctor, who examined her and concluded that her baby was pushing its foot through her cervix. The baby wanted out, the doctors and Yvonne could not delay the birth any longer.

    Baby Alexandria weighed in at one pound and six ounces. She was kept alive in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with a ventilator and round the clock medical care. The doctors cautioned Yvonne and Steve to keep their hopes in check and to be prepared to see their baby go through some high-risk, invasive medical procedures; since it is likely Alexandria would suffer from brain bleeds and have problems with her heart, lungs and intestines.

    Yvonne and Steve visited their tiny daughter in the hospital every day for the next three months. This was a difficult time for their family. Aside from the emotional toll, it was logistically trying to manage hospital visits, maintain Steve's full-time work schedule, and keep three-year-old Emily's life as normal as possible.

    Alexandria proved to be stronger than anyone thought. The little baby that literally kicked her way into the world did not have any of the anticipated brain bleeds. She digested the nutrition she needed to grow. She survived the surgery which fixed a heart valve that did not fully close while in utero.

    When Alexandria was released from the hospital after three months, she was to remain connected to an oxygen compressor. Until she was seven months old, that machine helped her breathe 24-hours-a-day. For three months after that, she used the compressor only at night while she slept. Today, Alexandria is able to breathe completely on her own.

    Although she's smaller, Alexandria is now considered to be developmentally on par for her age. Yvonne describes her youngest daughter as extremely observant and blessed with an even temperament. " Alexandria is more mellow than most toddlers," Yvonne says. "I guess she's been through so much already that not much fazes her."

    When asked how she got through Alexandria's early months, Yvonne credits her family, friends and the staff at Sutter Medical Center. "That is the place to be if you have a sick baby. They are so good at what they do. Even though it didn't look good for Alexandria in the beginning, that didn't stop them from doing everything they could," she said. "And it worked."


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