Although she was perfectly healthy before her pregnancy, 26-year-old first-time mother Rachel Miller was one of the estimated 6% of pregnant women who develop gestational diabetes.
Miller faced gestational diabetes through much of her pregnancy. Then at 36 weeks, she developed hypertension, and her blood pressure became a concern. These two conditions caused her pregnancy to be considered high-risk.
Considering her health and all the risk factors she faced, her obstetrician, Marsh R. McEachrane, M.D., decided it was best for mom and baby to induce labor at 37 weeks.
“Pregnancies that are complicated by diabetes, hypertension, and/or pre-eclampsia or eclampsia are far too common here in the U.S.,” Dr. McEachrane said. “Unfortunately, they are amongst the leading causes of early deliveries and can lead to maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.”
They faced some challenges during delivery. Miller hemorrhaged postpartum and lost consciousness a few hours after Noah was born on November 28, 2022. But Dr. McEachrane and the caregivers at Broward Health Coral Springs took good care of her and the baby and everyone pulled through.
While she received blood infusions to help her regain her strength, Noah needed some breathing assistance. He had respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Noah didn’t have enough of the liquid surfactant in his lungs, which weren’t yet fully developed. Gestational diabetes is a risk factor for RDS, which also occurs more often in babies born early.
Neonatologist Eduardo A. Otero, M.D. was the first doctor to intubate and give the baby surfactant and Miller says Noah received excellent care from all the doctors and nurses in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), according to his mom.
At first, they thought their NICU stay would be short. But after he was off breathing assistance, he developed jaundice and the care team was concerned about a possible bacterial infection. Twelve days after his birth, on December 10, 2022, he was able to graduate and go home.
Even though it was hard on the family each time Noah’s discharge was delayed, they still felt supported.
“When I was down, the NICU nurses would give me hugs and comfort me,” Miller said. “It was really great how many people were caring for and supporting us.”
Miller gave special thanks to all the NICU Progressive Care Nurse Manager Sissy Stephen, Lactation Consultant Nichole Salisbury and all the maternity and NICU nurses who delivered compassionate care during her family’s time at the hospital.
Today, mom and baby are both happy and healthy, and Miller is no longer experiencing diabetes or hypertension. She and her husband, A.J., are enjoying parenthood and baby Noah.
“Despite a rocky beginning, Noah is perfectly healthy today with zero health issues,” Miller said. “He’s in the 95% percentile for both his height and weight and always is right on track with his developmental milestones. We are just so appreciative that he had such comprehensive care we received.”
To learn more about Broward Health’s personalized maternity services, visit www.BrowardHealth.org/Maternity.