Jill Sorenson, 37, and her husband, Donovan, of Arvada, Colorado, were thrilled to be expecting their first child. Jill’s first trimester was smooth except for a little nausea. But at about 26 weeks, Jill developed unexpected complications. Thankfully, the couple relied on The Baby Place at Good Samaritan Medical Center to provide care for them every step of the way.
“We chose to deliver at Good Samaritan because it’s close to our home and has such a good reputation,” recalls Jill. “We learned we absolutely chose the right hospital and are so thankful for our medical team.”
Could Happen to Anyone
Midpregnancy, a routine doctor visit revealed that Jill’s blood pressure had spiked to dangerous levels. When her blood pressure didn’t drop by her next week’s appointment, she was admitted to the antepartum unit at The Baby Place. The unit provides specialty care for women with pregnancy complications.
High blood pressure can be harmful to baby and mom during pregnancy. It can affect baby’s growth and lead to premature birth. Mothers are also at risk for organ damage and potentially fatal complications.
Physicians at The Baby Place needed to take a unique approach to lower Jill’s blood pressure because she also has asthma. Many medications can aggravate asthma. Her doctors stabilized her blood pressure and delayed delivery. But her blood pressure spiked again soon after she returned home.
“If I had not been receiving such close care, I would have never known there was a problem,” says Jill. “I’m so glad they caught it.”
Jill was readmitted to The Baby Place where she was diagnosed with preeclampsia—a potentially life-threatening pregnancy disorder. The primary treatment for preeclampsia is delivery. However, Jill’s doctors worked to delay delivery as long as possible.
“In everything we do, the health of the mother and baby are top priority,” explains MaryEllen Meyers, RN, who cared for Jill before, during and after delivery. “Our patients are everything to us, and we focus on providing individualized care to each person. It’s instilled throughout the culture of Good Sam. It’s who we are.”
Placed in Expert Hands
Preeclampsia can worsen quickly. When Jill’s blood pressure could no longer be controlled, she was readmitted for close monitoring. About two weeks later, Johanna Figge, MD, OB-GYN, induced labor for mom and baby’s safety.
Jill successfully delivered a baby boy named Colton. Although Colton was born at just 30 weeks, he had specialists standing by in The Baby Center’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The NICU is staffed by neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners and other newborn care experts who are at the ready to aid babies born before 37 weeks or with health complications. Babies born before 30 weeks are cared for at SCL Health St. Joseph’s Hospital.
“We had complete confidence in the NICU staff to care for our baby,” says Jill. “But it was the little things that made such a difference in our experience.”
Close to Heart and Home
Since Colton required immediate medical care, the staff went to extra lengths to ensure she stayed connected to her son during treatment. For example, MaryEllen wheeled Jill’s bed to the NICU window after delivery so she could see her baby.
SCL Health Good Samaritan Medical Center was the first in Colorado designated as a Baby-Friendly hospital by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. At The Baby Place, mothers are allowed to have immediate skin-to-skin contact with their babies. Moms also receive breastfeeding help and other support to ensure they have quality bonding time.
The NICU encourages all parents to visit with their babies anytime day or night. And for couples who don’t live nearby, the hospital offers free, hotel-like rooms to stay in after discharge.
“We do everything we can for our patients. It’s so hard to put into words what they mean to us,” says MaryEllen. “It’s so rewarding to connect with them at this time of their life.”
Today, just weeks after delivery, Jill and Donovan visit Colton every day and report that he is thriving.
“The entire Good Samaritan staff were absolutely amazing,” says Jill. “Nothing could have prepared us for these complications. But Good Sam was absolutely the best place for us.”