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Monica Vega – Maternity and NICU Patient Success Story

Angels to the rescue at the Methodist Richardson NICU

Monica Vega’s daughter, Seleste, was born seven weeks early. But thanks to the “special angels” at the Methodist Richardson NICU, both mom and baby are doing great.

​​​​​​When Monica Vega pulls the short, dark hair of her 10-month-old daughter, Seleste, into a little ponytail, it sticks straight up.

“She reminds me of Cindy Lou Who from How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the Dallas mom says.

But last spring, Seleste looked quite different. Born seven weeks premature, she lay in an incubator, hooked to a ventilator and feeding tube.

“I was expecting the worst but praying for the best,” says Vega, recalling those weeks her youngest daughter spent in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Methodist Richardson Medical Center.

Something’s not right

undefinedMidway through Vega’s third trimester, she had started experiencing severe abdominal pressure and pain.

“I get to know my patients really well, and Monica is as tough as nails,” says Chad Simmons, MD, FACOG, Vega’s longtime OB-GYN. “If she’s complaining, it means something major is going on.”

Vega’s pains were near the incision from a past cesarean section. Dr. Simmons feared she might be at risk for a uterine rupture, when the scar tissue becomes so thin that the baby can break through the uterus.

He admitted Vega to Methodist Richardson immediately, trying to buy time for the unborn baby. Then two days later, on April 9, Vega started bleeding, prompting Dr. Simmons to perform a cesarean section.

“It takes a lot for me to stop a pregnancy at 33 weeks, and this was a sign we had to move,” he says.

A home away from home

undefinedIn addition to days on a ventilator and feeding tube, Seleste required blood transfusions and phototherapy treatments for jaundice.

“Taking great care of our smallest and sickest patients is something we are very proud of at Methodist Richardson,” says Swati Johnson, DO, FAAP, director of newborn services at Methodist Richardson. “Neonatologists with expert training provide 24/7 coverage, and our new level III NICU is equipped with the latest technology to care for infants as well as provide an intimate, reassuring setting for families.”

Vega attests that the staff was like family. “They gave me peace of mind,” she says. “I cried every single day when I had to leave Seleste, but they kept me updated on every little thing she’d do and every sound she’d make and how she’d react to certain things. I knew she was being taken care of well.”

The day Seleste came home, Vega couldn’t stop crying.

“I owe the NICU team everything,” she says. “They’re all like special angels in my heart. They’ve done so much for my family.”

From the spring 2014 edition of Shine magazine.