In 2007 Sara gave birth to her first child, a 9lb healthy baby boy. Even though her labor was induced, she was more than happy with her experience.
“After I gave birth to my son I thought to myself that I can’t wait to have another baby,” said Sara. “My experience at Sutter Memorial Hospital was amazing.”
A couple years later Sara was pregnant with her second child. She again went through her pregnancy with Elizabeth Gonzalez, M.D., her OBGYN with Sutter Medical Group in Elk Grove. Everything was progressing normally until she started having contractions during her 25th week.
“Because my first child was induced, I had no idea what early labor felt like,” said Sara. “I went to the hospital worried and the labor and delivery team did everything they could to try to stop the contractions. When my nurse finally examined me she gave me a hug and told me that I was 6 cm dilated and my daughter was ready to come out. But she assured me everything would be ok.”
Sara’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was born weighing exactly 2 pounds and was only 13 and ½ inches long.
“I remember reading that preemies who hit the two pound mark have a better chance at survival, and that gave me a sense of hope,” recalled Sara. “And I was really impressed that the doctor still put her on my chest and did all the normal steps they do after birth to help with the bonding.”
While in the NICU Sara worked with her nurses to start a regime to exclusively use fortified breast milk to nourish her daughter instead of formula because she knew premature babies need the extra nutrients to support their immune system. Her neonatologist Arthur Lyons, M.D., supported her request and worked with the team in the NICU to use only breast milk, and then provided lactation support when Elizabeth was ready to breastfeed.
“I was able to exclusively breastfeed my son for the first year and I saw no reason why I shouldn’t do at least that much for Elizabeth.”
Ninty days later, two weeks before her official due date, Mary Elizabeth was able to go home with her family weighing over 6 pounds.
“I felt like Sutter Memorial was my home for so long,” said Sara. “Every time I drive by the hospital I feel like I should stop in and say hi to the team that supported my family during Elizabeth’s stay at the NICU, and sometimes I do.”
Elizabeth is now a happy and healthy one-year-old…and soon to be a big sister. Sara is expecting her third child this winter.
“We now know there is a 50/50 chance with each pregnancy that I may have another early labor due to the formation of my uterus,” said Sara. “But I feel confident because I know Sutter is there to take care of me and my baby.”