Lindsey Woods enjoyed a pleasant, normal pregnancy – until a routine ultrasound at 22 weeks signaled that something was very wrong. Her care team at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital, an affiliate of Tufts Medical Center, said she would need to deliver pre-term at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
A serious complication
“Lindsey was diagnosed with vasa previa, which means that she had a fetal blood vessel in front of her cervix,” Dr. Michael House, Maternal-Fetal Medicine Physician at Tufts Medical Center, said. “It’s a scary complication because if anything happens to the blood vessel, the baby loses blood.”
With vasa previa, natural birth is not an option due to the risk of blood loss. In these cases, doctors wait until 34 or 35 weeks to perform a C-section, or earlier if the mother starts bleeding.
“What I thought would be a quick visit turned into an almost 3 hour appointment, because specialists were coming in to talk to me and answer my questions,” Lindsey said. “I’m forever grateful of the way the entire staff treated me there, because I was so scared and didn’t bring anyone with me.”
Preparing for delivery
Ten weeks later, Lindsey was admitted to the Tufts Medical Center Maternal Special Care Unit with a few weeks to go until her C-section. But as soon as she hit 33 weeks, she noticed some bleeding when she went to the bathroom.
“The doctor came in and was like, ‘we’re having a baby!’”, she said. “It was truly one of the most frightening moments of my life, but everyone stayed so calm. When I cried, they rubbed my back.”
Her daughter, Summer, was delivered by Dr. House less than an hour later and stayed in our Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 5 days. While Lindsey knew her newborn was in good hands, it was difficult being separated.
“As a mom, you want to be with your baby 24/7,” she said. “But the staff took care of Summer with so much compassion and love — they really put me at ease and made an extremely difficult situation less awful.”
When Summer was well enough, Lindsey transferred her care back to Brockton — closer to home. She stayed in Signature Healthcare Brockton’s Level II special care nursery, which staffs Tufts Medical Center neonatologists, pediatric physicians and neonatal nurses, for the next two weeks.
Now, Summer is happy and healthy.
“We call her our little miracle baby,” Lindsey said. “She was actually conceived through IVF, so it was a struggle to begin with.”
Recently, she brought along a basket of goodies and a card (pictured below) to thank the doctors and nurses in Brockton for the exceptional care they provided her and her daughter.
“The staff is such an amazing support system,” she said. “They’re at work every day because they truly want to be there for their patients.”