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Angelik Tobias - Maternity and NICU Success Story

Methodist Richardson’s NICU team was there for preemie Angelik Tobias

Angelik Tobias Estela Tobias was able to bring her daughter,
Angelik, home from the hospital earlier than
expected, thanks to the care of Methodist
Richardson’s NICU team.

Estela Tobias couldn’t believe how well her second pregnancy was going.

“Other than a couple months of nausea, I had no discomfort, and I could still eat Mexican food, which I love,” Estela says. “It was a wonderful experience, compared to my first pregnancy.”

The Tobiases’ first child, Leonardo Jr., had arrived 17 weeks early. He spent more than six months in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and endured multiple surgeries. Unable to walk or feed himself at 3 years old, he continues to bear the effects of premature birth.

“I was told that I was at high risk for another premature delivery,” Estela says. “But it felt so different, I was sure things would be great.”

On Jan. 2, not yet 26 weeks into her pregnancy, Estela learned otherwise.

A turn for the worse

That winter morning was a cozy one in the Tobiases’ Garland home. Leonardo Jr. was playing. Breakfast was cooking on the stove. Visiting relatives were enjoying conversation.

But Estela was in pain.

“All of a sudden, my water broke,” she says. “Then I started bleeding profusely.”

Leonardo Sr., Estela’s husband, rushed her to Methodist Richardson Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with a ruptured placenta and underwent an emergency cesarean section.

At 12:30 p.m., a very weak Angelik Tobias entered the world, weighing only 1 pound 15 ounces. At 25 weeks and 5 days’ gestation, she was the same age as her brother when he was born. Estela feared her daughter would face the same fate as he.

“I said, ‘God, You know what I can handle. I just don’t want her to have surgeries,’” Estela says.

Overcoming obstacles

Estela’s prayers were answered: Angelik didn’t need surgery — but she still had a number of health issues.

“One of her struggles was breathing,” says Lilian St. John, MD, neonatologist on the Methodist Richardson medical staff. The NICU staff also worked to keep her blood pressure up, ensure she received sufficient nutrition, and keep her warm and hydrated, something difficult to do with the infant’s underdeveloped skin.

“Fortunately, Angelik healed quickly and went home two weeks earlier than anticipated,” Dr. St. John says.

Finding family in the NICU

Dr. St. John says that Methodist Richardson’s care for premature babies starts with their mothers.

“Our NICU team works closely with our labor and delivery colleagues to prepare for high-risk deliveries,” she says. “We have a wonderful team — doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, speech and occupational therapists, lactation consultants, and others — all dedicated to delivering compassionate care.”

The nurses also included Angelik’s parents in her care.

“Through this process, we bond with our families, and they become a part of our Methodist Richardson family,” Dr. St. John says.

Filled with gratitude

The Tobiases felt that sense of family. As they had relocated to Ennis and were still caring for a child with special needs, their visits to the NICU were rarer than they would have liked. They were impressed with the staff’s care and compassion.

“She’ll be all right, Mommy,” one nurse encouraged Estela. “You just count this girl as a miracle.”

Finally, in late March, Angelik’s stay in the NICU came to an end.

Estela says she’d turn to Methodist Richardson again should she have another little one. In the meantime, this mom is counting her blessings.

“I thank God for Leonardo and Angelik,” Estela says. “They’re successful preemies.”