January 24, 2012

Changing lives and helping families

by Carole Bartoo

At a time when most new parents are picking out paint for nurseries and getting ready for baby showers, Amber and Dustin Stewart were faced with decisions about surgeries and treatments for their unborn child.

Four months into the pregnancy, an ultrasound image of their daughter’s tiny chest revealed a life-threatening growth. Malformed lung tissue was crowding the development of her airway and putting pressure on her heart.

The Stewarts say they were not given much hope. A high-risk pregnancy expert told them that she was not likely to survive; that she might not might cry or even be able to draw a breath in the delivery room.

But a referral to Vanderbilt offered hope. Ultrasounds at the Junior League Fetal Center at Vanderbilt suggested there was a possibility their baby had enough lung tissue to survive birth. It was still difficult to tell if the Stewarts should seek experimental surgery before birth to boost her chances, or if she could wait to have surgery after.

The Stewarts longed for something so simple and expected: to hear a healthy cry after the birth of their daughter. They faced a long road to get there, but they had the staff and faculty of the leading regional fetal center at their side for the journey.

To read more, click here: http://www.childrenshospital.vanderbilt.org/hope/?p=644.