Couple, Daughter Benefit from ‘Full-Time Parenting’ Experience
Sometimes finding the best place to have a baby can mean going the distance, quite literally. Just ask 40-year-old Liz Crouch and her husband, Nathan, who is 38. The couple lives in Sulphur Springs, Texas, about an hour and a half northeast of Dallas. When Liz became pregnant in 2014, she and Nathan knew that her age could present a challenge for local hospitals that may not be equipped to handle complications, should they arise. So Liz and Nathan made the choice to deliver their baby at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. It’s a decision they’ve never regretted.
“I was impressed that this family did their homework,” said Dede Scholl, R.N.C., manager of Texas Health Dallas’ Special Care Nursery. “They could have delivered just about anywhere they wanted and they researched several hospitals before choosing THD. One of the deciding factors was the couple’s ability to stay with their baby during the entire hospitalization. Family-focused care is what we’re known for in the Margot Perot Center for Women and Infants.”
The Journey to Dallas Begins
Not only was age a factor that made Liz’s pregnancy high risk, but she also had a history of high blood pressure during two previous pregnancies and her family is known to be carriers for cystic fibrosis. When her regular OB/GYN in Greenville dismissed her inquiries about early testing, Liz knew she needed to find a more supportive specialist to see her through her pregnancy. Her sister delivered twins with John Bertrand, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., of Walnut Hill OB/GYN Associates, and highly recommended him. Liz and Nathan met with Dr. Bertrand and were introduced as well to maternal fetal medicine specialist Brian Rinehart, M.D., of North Texas Perinatal Associates. Both doctors are on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas.
The Crouchs found the doctors to be very welcoming and reassuring. Dr. Bertrand performed the prenatal testing and genetic counseling that Liz was looking for, and that helped ease her anxiety about her baby’s health. Dr. Rinehart performed an emergency sonogram when the baby stopped moving for a time, and helped confirm that the pregnancy was progressing as it should.
Competent Care in a Critical Situation
But at just over 33 gestational weeks, Liz suddenly became very ill. She suffered from nausea and experienced a brief palsy on the left side of her face. When the paralysis happened again the next day, Liz sought treatment in the nearest ER. Tests and a CT scan were inconclusive, so Liz was transferred to Texas Health Dallas – a little ahead of schedule.
Liz’s blood platelets were alarmingly low and her liver enzymes were too high. Dr. Rinehart was on hand to make the difficult diagnosis of HELLP syndrome (H for hemolysis, which is the breaking down of red blood cells; EL for elevated liver enzymes; and LP for low platelet count), and advise Liz and Nathan that their baby needed to be delivered soon. HELLP symptoms can sometimes be mistaken for gastritis, flu or another condition, but Dr. Rinehart was able to make the diagnosis and help ensure Liz and her baby got the care she needed. Less than 24 hours later, Molly Kate Crouch was born at just 4 pounds and 9 ounces.
Molly Kate’s lungs weren’t fully developed so she spent a week in the hospital’s Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit before being transferred to the Special Care Nursery (SCN). The SCN was the Crouch family’s home for the next five weeks, while Molly Kate continued to grow and her parents learned how to take care of her.
“The Special Care Nursery at Texas Health Dallas most certainly is the place to be if you have a premature baby,” Liz said. The nurses there were fabulous. We loved Deb Goodman, who became our primary day nurse. She spent time explaining things and reassuring us. We also loved our primary night nurse, Jennifer Willis. She was equally warm and caring.”
“These ladies and others gently instructed us on how to hold, bathe, feed, change and generally care for our tiny daughter. To a parent, a baby so tiny is very intimidating. These nurses helped us see that she was not as fragile as we thought. And of particular importance to me, Deb and Jennifer were very supportive of my desire to breastfeed. We worked together and in conjunction with the lactation specialists and as a result of their encouragement, I am now able to nurse my baby instead of having to pump and feed her with a bottle,” she added.
Services That Matter
Beyond the skill of the Texas Health Dallas medical staff, Liz and Nathan also found the facility itself to be top-notch. In the SCN, the couple was able to remain with Molly Kate at all times and meals were provided to Liz to foster good nutrition for her breastfeeding efforts. Overall, the experience enabled Liz and Nathan to be “full-time parents” to their new daughter. The early bonding was a gift they feel privileged to have had the opportunity to give their precious little one.