Andrea Jaffray has much to celebrate this Mother’s Day.
May 11 is Jaffray’s birthday. It’s also the birthday of her husband, Alex, and two of their children, Doug and Ryan.
Jaffray also will be celebrating the recent birth of her son, Zachary, who was born eight weeks premature following an extraordinarily difficult pregnancy and emergency C-section at Loyola University Hospital. Despite long odds, Zachary has thrived in Loyola’s neonatal intensive care unit and will be going home soon, probably in time for Mother’s Day.
Zachery is the fifth son of Andrea Jaffray, a stay-at-home mom, and Alex Jaffray, a computer programmer. They live in west suburban Franklin Park.
Andrea said her first four pregnancies “were a breeze.” But her fifth pregnancy was troubled from the start.
An ultrasound revealed Jaffray was carrying twins, but one died early on. Then at 17 weeks, she was admitted to the emergency room with bleeding. And at 23 weeks, her water broke. In eighty percent of such cases, the mother will deliver within a week.
On Feb. 26, Jaffray was admitted to Loyola, where she spent seven weeks in bed. She was allowed to get up only to go the bathroom or to take a sit-down shower every three or four days.
Jaffray watched Oprah and soap operas, used her laptop and played cards with her kids when they visited. But lying in bed all day was lonely and boring, and she worried about all the things that could go seriously wrong.
“It was mentally taxing and physically exhausting,” she said.
Jaffray had placenta accreta. Her placenta was attaching too deeply into the uterine wall, and there was a risk it could grow all the way into the bladder. The water bag rupture increased the risk of infection, and the bed rest increased the risk of blood clots. And during the delivery, Jaffray would be at risk of life-threatening blood loss.
Jaffray was told she could go into premature labor at any time. Her baby could die, or be severely handicapped. Doctors were hoping to make her pregnancy last about 34 weeks, which would minimize the risk of disabilities. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks.
Jaffray was scheduled to have a C-section on April 28. But late in the afternoon of April 15, she began hemorrhaging, and needed an emergency C-Section. Her husband rushed to her bedside. “He came in and gave me a kiss, and they wheeled me into the operating room,” she said.
Fortunately, the placenta had not grown outside the uterus, said Dr. Paula White, who delivered Zachary. “I was a little surprised,” she said. “I was expecting it to be worse.” White is an assistant professor, department of obstetrics and gynecology, at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
White needed to perform a hysterectomy, but that’s okay with Jaffray, 35. She said that with Zachary’s birth, her family is complete.
Zachary weighed 3 pounds, 15 oz. The combination of the water bag rupture and early delivery greatly increased the risk his lungs would be severely underdeveloped. But they were in surprisingly good shape, and he did not need a ventilator, said Dr. Jonathan Muraskas, co-medical director of Loyola’s neonatal ICU and a professor of pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology at Stritch School of Medicine.
“For Zachary to be born without infections and with relatively healthy lungs - despite the water bag breaking 10 weeks before delivery—is nothing short of a miracle,” Muraskas said.
Muraskas said Zachary is doing well, and there’s a 97 percent to 98 percent chance he will have no significant handicaps.
The risk of placenta accreta is increased by having previous C-sections. (Jaffray’s first four children all were C-sections.) “We’re worried that placenta accreta may be a growing trend in the future because of the rising Cesarean section rate,” White said.
During her pregnancy, Jaffray joked that Zachary would be grounded because of all the difficulties he caused. But now she says Zachary has been more than worth all the trouble.
“He’s just so cute, with his little fuzzy hair,” she said. “I see bits and pieces of all my other kids in him.”
Source: Loyola University Health System