For some, 10 is a number that denotes perfection. For Wichitan Amanda Rufnak, it’s the number of miscarriages she experienced prior to welcoming daughter Natalie Jade, now a healthy 8-month-old.
“I hyperventilated when I found out I was pregnant,” says Amanda, who although excited was worried about the chances of carrying the pregnancy to full term after suffering two miscarriages before the birth of her first son 12 years ago, five before the birth of her second now 9 year-old son and three more before Natalie Jade.
With the help and support of Janey Maki, MD, an OB/GYN at Ascension Medical Group, and the NewLife Center team at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph, her dream of having a daughter finally came true.
“The first time I saw Dr. Maki, I thought I was looking at an angel on Earth,” says Amanda, who says Dr. Maki and her team gave her the support she needed to remain hopeful, even after losing her 10th baby shortly after her first visit.
“My baby didn’t make it, but she didn’t cut off the relationship,” says Amanda. Instead, she urged her to try again, and two months later she was expecting.
Dr. Maki told Amanda that her A- blood type was Rh-negative and that antibodies made during her first birth could cross the placenta and attack the Rh-positive red blood cells if the baby she was carrying had an Rh-positive blood type. Called Rh sensitization, this can cause fetal anemia, miscarriage, stillbirth or serious illness in the baby.
To address this risk, Dr. Maki prescribed aspirin and progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone found in the uterus and ovaries during pregnancy. But Amanda’s worries weren’t yet behind her as when she went in for her first sonogram, they couldn’t detect a heartbeat. But when she saw Dr. Maki a week later, she heard a noise that brought her to tears: The pulsing sound of her baby’s heartbeat.
“It was an emotional day for me,” says Amanda, who says it only further solidified her bond with Dr. Maki and her nursing staff. “She allowed me to be heard and understood as no other doctors have done for me.”
Midway through her pregnancy, she developed irregular heart palpitations which Dr. Maki closely monitored. When her blood pressure went dangerously high just eight days shy of her due date, the decision was made to induce labor.
However, Amanda’s labor was slow in progressing.
“Dr. Maki gave me the option of having a C-section, but let me have enough freedom to deliver Natalie Jade the way I wanted,” says Amanda, who said dancing in the labor and delivery room and other tips provided by her delivery nurse helped her progress.
After 13 hours of labor, Natalie Jade made her long-awaited appearance on Nov. 15.
“When I successfully delivered, there was Dr. Maki, hugging my family and celebrating with us,” says Amanda, adding,”I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”
Now, eight months later, Amanda can’t stop thinking about the amazing experience she had despite all the fear and heartbreak. She was even able to successfully breastfeed for the first time.
“She listened to me, she helped me heal and she gave me Natalie Jade,” says Amanda. “Dr. Maki saved my baby and she saved me.