The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of unknowns to people worldwide, especially pregnant mothers. Jenna Miramontes and her husband were COVID-19 positive and quarantining with minor symptoms. They later learned that they conceived while quarantining at home.
With the ongoing research around pregnancy and COVID-19, Jenna scheduled an appointment with maternal fetal medicine.
“My first trimester screening was good, except one hormone level was very low, but nothing to be concerned about since this wasn’t necessarily uncommon.”
However, because of Jenna’s low hormone level, her insurance covered genetic testing and she decided to pursue it. Through this testing, she learned that her baby would likely have Down syndrome.
“Jenna had a ‘High Risk for Trisomy 21,’ with an after-risk result of 9/10,” says Sriram Perni, MD, maternal fetal medicine physician at Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center. “This is the highest risk possible after non-invasive maternal blood testing.”
From there, Jenna and her husband decided to not pursue any further genetic testing.
“Regardless of the outcome, we were going to love this baby. There are so many things that can go wrong with pregnancy, and Down syndrome just isn’t one of them,” says Jenna. “I grieved for a bit, but I grieved the image I created in my head of what my child would be like… From there, I accepted the diagnosis and started to figure out how I’m going to give my daughter the best life possible through early intervention.”
Dr. Perni adds, “Jenna was truly incredible during the entirety of her pregnancy… She processed the information that her baby most likely had Down syndrome seamlessly and transitioned from preparing for one situation and inheriting another.”
Throughout her pregnancy, Jenna was seen by Leah Kapela, one of our certified nurse midwives. Not only did Leah listen to Jenna, she helped educate her. The plan was for Leah to help Jenna with the natural birth experience she was hoping for.
“Midwives discuss women’s birth preferences throughout their prenatal care so we can prepare and advocate for the birth they want,” Leah shares. “We provide labor support to all our clients and encourage women to help ease their pain and to avoid intervention, all while we are taking care to ensure mother and baby are safe and well.”
While advocating for watchful waiting and non-intervention in normal processes, midwives also have access to all the interventions required for a high-risk pregnancy and delivery, should they become needed.
“We are trained and equipped to care for both low and high-risk pregnancies. We collaborate with our OB/GYN colleagues both in the office and in the hospital as needed,” says Leah.
Leah encouraged Jenna to do what works best for her during labor and provided different coping strategies to manage the pain. When the time came, Jenna’s water broke naturally, so they headed to the hospital to have the baby.
“Sailor Grace Miramontes was born, and she weighed 6lbs 8oz…. She spent the next nine days in the NICU, where she steadily progressed. I was upset because I couldn’t be with my daughter. However, my midwife, the labor and delivery nurses as well as post-partum nurses and the NICU nurses were incredible. We even had a lactation consultant and therapist work with us on Sailor’s feedings to help us determine best methods to use.”
Now as a mother, Jenna feels that very milestone, even the smallest wins, are the biggest victories.
“People who don’t even know Sailor love her. She makes us all smile. There’s a quote, ‘there’s nothing down about it,’ and that’s so true. Sailor is the happiest baby; she softens my heart and has made me a better person.”
Learn about the maternity care and women’s health services we offer at Mercy Health.