The tender moment when a mother first holds her newborn baby was cut short for Wendy Keenan on Sept. 27 of last year.
“Five minutes — that’s how long I got to hold Greyson before he was taken out of my arms,” Wendy says.
A routine sonogram done during week 24 of Wendy’s pregnancy picked up an abnormality in her baby’s intestines. Her perinatologist thought it looked like a bowel obstruction, so she followed up with another sonogram one week later. Sure enough, it was still there. Greyson had intestinal atresia, a blockage in the small intestine.
An estimated 1 in 2,000 newborns will have an intestinal obstruction of some type. If left untreated, the condition can lead to bowel rupture, infection and death. Greyson would need surgery within hours of birth.
Wendy, a physical therapist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, is familiar with hospitals in the Dallas area. She knew exactly where she wanted her new born’s surgery performed. “I wanted him at Children’s,” says Wendy. “I have friends who worked there, and I knew it was the best place for my son.”
Call it a Lifeline
After picking up the phone and dialing 1-855-ONEFETAL, the Children’s and UT Southwestern’s Fetal Evaluation and Treatment Alliance (FETAL) number, the first-time mom was connected with general surgeons Stephen Megison, M.D., and Joseph Murphy, M.D. Kerry Wilder, FETAL care coordinator and Quality and Outreach manager in the Children’s Neonatal ICU, coordinated all of the care Greyson would need before surgery.
Feeling confident they had made the right decision, Wendy and her husband, Edward, prepared the nursery at home just like any new parents would. “The day he was born went exactly as planned,” says Wendy. “During labor, UT Southwestern University Hospital and Children’s were in constant communication. After I held Greyson, they drained his stomach with a tube and took him to Children’s.”