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Team approach sends premature twins home healthy

Oral surgeon Matthew Robertson recalls he was about five minutes into a half-hour wisdom tooth case when his wife, Gaby — 33 weeks pregnant with identical twin girls — called him.

She said her water had broken and that their obstetrician, Matthew Voth, MD, advised that she go to the hospital. Matthew asked a colleague to pick up Gaby while he finished the surgery, then he soon joined his wife at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph in Wichita.

Gaby’s pregnancy was regarded as high risk — with a possibility of premature delivery — because she was carrying twins and for other factors. So in addition to Dr. Voth, her Ascension Medical Group OB/GYN care team included Michael Wolfe, MD, a maternal and fetal medicine specialist.

“Dealing with complicated pregnancies requires collaborative care and services,” says Dr. Wolfe. “The goal is to keep mothers with their own doctors, with whom they are most comfortable and familiar. My role is to help ensure that every delivery is as healthy as possible.”

Babies born at 40 weeks are considered full term. Dr. Voth hoped to buy three days’ time before delivering the twins in order to administer steroids to help the babies’ lungs develop.

“Every day a preterm baby stays in mom’s belly allows important developmental benefits,” says Dr. Voth. “But if the baby comes early or if complications arise, our labor and delivery team is backed by the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and we’re unified in one mission: the safest delivery and best possible outcome.”

Two days later, Gaby was in active labor and emotions were mixed.

“I was very nervous and I was crying,” she says. “I just wanted the girls to be healthy.”

Matthew remembers feeling confident. “I was very comforted in the ability of Dr. Voth and Dr. Wolfe. I knew that Gaby was strong and I had every indication that the babies were healthy. Maybe it was just blind faith, but I was not scared. I was happy. I was ready for them.”

Penelope Camille and Scarlett Rose were born one minute apart by C-section on March 29, each weighing 4 pounds, 7 ounces.

‘It’s a big day’

It’s April 13 and after two weeks in the NICU — and still nearly four weeks prior to their original due date — Penelope and Scarlett are ready to go home.

“The entire staff has just been rock stars,” says Matthew of their NICU caregivers. “We’re extremely blessed that we were here and we had such a great team taking care of us and our babies.”

The Robertsons name nearly a dozen nurses and neonatal nurse practitioners who are “like family now,” and they single out neonatologist Philippe Samson, MD. “He’s spoken to us in both of our native languages,” says Matthew, regarding how the physician communicated in Spanish with Gaby, who is from Mexico. “He’s extremely compassionate and caring.”

Gaby says: “I’m ready to take them home. I’m nervous, too.”

Smiling, Matthew agrees: “It’s a big day.”

Home at last

“Look what the babies brought you,” Matthew says to Xander, 2, as he and Gaby present their son with his sisters and gifts on the evening of the girls’ homecoming.

Xander delights at the bouquet of balloons and his sisters nestled in blankets atop a large basket of multicolor balls. The twins’ namesake grandmothers both are present for the momentous occasion.

Soon the family settles in. The girls’ monitors and diapers are checked. Gaby holds Scarlett, Grandma Camille cuddles Penelope, Grandma Rosa plays with Xander, and Matthew leaves to pick up dinner.

“I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, but I feel great to be home with all my babies,” Gaby says, smiling.

About Melissa Lacey

Kansas born; mother of two; communications professional for Ascension Via Christi.