Caring for Moms and Babies
Like Part of Our Family
Methodist Willowbrook Nurse Receives
Swadesh Khurana Endowed Fellowship
Special Care For a Special Newborn
Because Minutes Matter…
Advanced Stroke Care Close to Home
One Local Family's
to Advance Stroke Care
Methodist Willowbrook Hospital
Ask the Doctor
Avocado Green Onion Party Dip and Dippers
High Risk, High Reward
Special Care For a Special Newborn
Shelby Rae Chrisman was born at
Methodist Willowbrook Hospital
on Jan. 4, 2011, weighing
3 pounds, 9 ounces. She arrived four
weeks early for her parents, Tracy
and Jason Chrisman, and was not
quite ready to thrive on her own. The
tiny newborn spent five weeks in the
neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
at Methodist Willowbrook Hospital
before she was ready to go home.
Tracy and Jason Chrisman chose
Methodist Willowbrook Hospital because
of the high level of confidence they had
in Tracy's physician, Dr. Christoper
McGuirk, and word-of-mouth
recommendations from friends
who had delivered babies here.
Tracy's pregnancy was
considered high risk
because she had gestational
diabetes, high blood
pressure and signs of
preeclampsia. At 33 weeks
gestation, she was
strict bed rest for two weeks.
"My doctor was very open, answering
every question and concern and
explaining why being in the hospital
was important for my health and
my baby's health," Tracy recalls.
"We learned to take it one day at
a time and one week at a time."
The couple spent Christmas and New
Year's in the hospital, while Tracy's
condition continued to be closely
monitored by her physician and the
specially trained nurses. Despite all
the worry and concern, their family
and friends along with the Methodist
Willowbrook staff helped to make
the holidays merry with decorations,
treats and even apple cider for
toasting the New Year.
On Jan. 4, the baby's heart rate started
dropping (a sign of fetal distress), so
Tracy underwent an emergency
C-section delivery. "Jason and I were
worried because we knew the baby
would be premature, but we had
complete trust in the doctors and the
staff," Tracy says.
"The NICU nurses were a wonderful
support to us. They answered all of our
questions and gave us lots of hugs,
which we needed!"
– Tracy Chrisman
Not knowing what was going to
happen was the scariest part for Tracy
and Jason. "After the doctor delivered
Shelby, it was quiet and I started
praying," Tracy remembers. "After a
few moments Dr. McGuirk said, 'Do
you hear the baby crying in the next
room?' A huge relief came over me
at that moment because I knew
our baby was going to be fine and
was in good hands with the
doctors and nurses at Methodist
Shelby stayed in an incubator for the
first three weeks of life, which Tracy
and Jason liked to call Shelby's
"cabana." In the first few days, the
parents could only touch Shelby with a
finger. They were eventually allowed
to hold her for 20 minutes at a time.
The NICU doctors explained that
Shelby would burn extra calories
trying to keep warm if she was moved
from her incubator, and this was a
critical time for Shelby to grow.
Shelby was fed through a tube in her
nose at first, and eventually they were
able to practice feeding her with a
bottle. "Shelby was tiny in size but
perfect in health otherwise," Tracy
explains. "The doctors told us she
would be ready to go home as soon
as she could feed well with a bottle.
We had to be patient, because it took
her five weeks to learn to suck,
swallow and breathe for successful
HOME AT LAST!
Tracy's life was in the NICU with little
Shelby 24/7 those first five weeks, and
she describes the trip home as surreal.
"Jason was so excited when we were
finally carrying her out in the car seat –
I had to ask him to slow down because
I couldn't keep up!" Tracy says.
Now at 1 year old and weighing more
than 17 pounds, Shelby has grown to
nearly five times her birth weight, and
she is a healthy and happy baby.
Parents have peace of mind knowing
that Methodist Willowbrook Hospital's
neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is
here should they need it.
The NICU cares for premature
infants and other infants needing
These specialized services include 24/7
coverage by Texas Children's Hospital
neonatologists and neonatal nurse
practitioners, who have been specially
trained in neonatal care. The neonatal
services department allows for mothers
to stay with their babies in most
instances, which allows for critical
bonding for a new family.
HELP FOR HIGH-RISK PREGNANCIES
Women with pre-existing medical conditions
and/or health problems that develop during
pregnancy may benefit from a consultation with
a Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist.
A mother-to-be may have pre-existing
conditions, such as multiple births, heart
disease, high blood pressure, diabetes,
kidney or gastrointestinal disease, or an
infectious disease. All of these conditions
may increase risks for the mother and/or
Healthy women whose pregnancies are
at increased risk for problems are also
candidates for consultation with a Maternal-
Fetal Medicine specialist. These include
- Had an abnormal alpha fetoprotein,
or AFP; blood test (a standard prenatal
screening test that can help identify
spina bifida; anencephaly and
- Are carrying twins, triplets or more babies
during a pregnancy.
- Had pre-term labor and an early
delivery in the past.
- Experienced premature rupture
- Experienced multiple previous miscarriages.
Health problems that may develop during
pregnancy and require close monitoring
by a doctor:
- Preeclampsia – a serious condition that
includes high blood pressure, urinary
protein and changes in blood levels of liver
enzymes. It can affect the mother's kidneys,
liver and brain.
- Gestational diabetes – a form of diabetes
that only pregnant women get. Gestational
diabetes can cause the baby to grow too
large, causing problems during delivery.
Also, the baby may have breathing
problems or low blood sugar.
- HIV/AIDS – a virus that kills or damages
cells of the body's immune system,
destroying the body's ability to fight
infections and certain cancers.
Mothers with HIV may pass the virus
to their babies. There are effective
ways of preventing this transmission.
- Preterm labor – a condition that occurs
before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Women
with certain infections, a shortened
cervix or previous pre-term birth are at
higher risk for pre-term labor.
Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists at
Methodist Willowbrook Hospital focus on
the medical and surgical management of
high-risk pregnancies. These experienced
specialists offer consultation on the
management of complex pregnancies.
Your OB/Gyn may suggest that you see
an MFM during your pregnancy.
To find a Maternal-Fetal Medicine
specialist or an OB/Gyn at Methodist
Willowbrook Hospital, call physician
referral at 281-737-2500