Sutter Women's Services
Yolanda - Miracles Do Happen
During her eighth week of pregnancy, Yolanda was put on bed rest and had weekly doctor appointments to monitor her pregnancy. She did not mind this because two years ago, she miscarried her first baby at 22 weeks. It was then she learned that she had an incompetent cervix, meaning her cervix would not have the strength to keep the baby in the uterus until her baby was full term.
At 23 weeks Yolanda was admitted to the high-risk maternity unit at Sutter Memorial Hospital so she and her baby could be monitored around-the-clock. “I’ll do whatever it takes to keep my baby healthy,” says Yolanda. “The high-risk unit has the best team of nurses because they understand what you are going through.”
During her stay in the high-risk unit, Yolanda was visited every day by an obstetrician from her doctor’s office and a maternal-fetal physician, who specialize in high-risk pregnancies.
At 28 weeks and five days, Yolanda’s water broke. Through medication and continued bed rest, Yolanda’s team of doctors were to keep her from delivering for three more days. After that, Yolanda was in full labor. “I was having a lot of pain. I thought they were contractions, but I hadn’t had them before so I wasn’t sure,” recalls Yolanda. “I paged for a nurse and when she checked me, my son’s foot was coming out. Yolanda’s obstetrician, Christiana Kopf, M.D., performed an emergency c-section.
“I remember feeling so scared because I knew it was too early. but my husband was excited to see our son,” says Yolanda.
Michael Raul Blackmore, Jr. was born weighing 3 pounds and 4 ounces. He was small, but he was healthy. He just needed to grow.
Michael was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where he spent the next two months growing and learning how to eat.
“If you can’t be the one caring for your baby, the staff at Sutter is the next best thing,” says Yolanda. “The NICU team is not only nurses, but teachers too. They provide what I would describe as a full hands-on education for your baby. Having a premature son was scary because we did not know what would come next or how to take care of him. The NICU team understands that and teaches parents how to overcome these fears. It is a nurturing environment that is essential to the babies well-being.”
Yolanda and her husband spent their days in the NICU holding Michael and learning how to care for him. Neonatologist Fernando Rosas, M.D., checked on Michael every day. “Dr. Rosas was great. He spent a lot of time with me and answered all my questions. He was never in a rush,” says Yolanda.
One of Yolanda’s biggest concerns through all of this was that her husband, Michael Sr., would feel left out because he is deaf. But that was not the case. The high-risk unit and the NICU staff made an extra effort to communicate with her husband.
Michael Jr.’s primary nurse Juli had a true understanding and skill of American Sign Language because her in-laws are deaf. Having her understand the culture and the language brought comfort to the Yolanda and Michael Sr. “Juli’s presence was invaluable. With her command of ASL, she was able to teach and explain to my husband the everyday happenings of our son in his natural language. During this most joyous and confusing time, the last thing anyone wants to encounter is a communication barrier. Thankfully, we did not have to worry about this during our baby’s stay in the NICU.”
The staff who did not have knowledge of ASL were eager to learn basic signs and make adjustments to help the couple feel comfortable too. “They would guide my husband’s hand to show him how to do necessary care for Michael, such as properly carrying our premature son and bathing him.”
Today, Michael is 3 months and 2 weeks old and weighs 12 pounds. “He is right on target for his growth. He is getting stronger everyday and is the love of our life,” says Yolanda. “No words can ever convey how truly grateful we are for the fantastic care we received from Sutter Memorial Hospital. From the doctor visits, my stay in the high-risk maternity unit, to Michael’s stay in the NICU the hospital team not only made us feel comfortable throughout our ordeal, but many of the staff have become our friends. This experience will be in our hearts forever.”
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