Every day is Mother’s Day: HCA Healthcare colleagues advocate for, empower and honor all moms every day
In 2021, HCA Healthcare deepened our longstanding relationship with March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization fighting for the health of all moms and babies. Our renewed strategic partnership focuses on improving maternal mortality and morbidity outcomes through postpartum discharge education and by lowering hospital caesarian rates among low-risk, first-time mothers, head first position or NTSV (Nulliparous, Term, Singleton Vertex) rates.
HCA Healthcare’s continued commitment to March of Dimes also includes direct support, colleague fundraising and matching gifts to raise awareness and address the maternal and infant health crisis.
HCA Healthcare uses data from the more than 217,000 babies we deliver every year to learn and implement new policies and practices to improve pre-natal, natal and post-natal care.
In 2022, our HCA Healthcare family is participating in March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement™, an awareness and fundraising campaign aimed to support every family throughout their pregnancy journey and raise critical funds to help March of Dimes provide research, programs, education and advocacy so moms and babies get the best possible start.
In support of the movement, HCA Healthcare colleagues and communities are coming together both in person and virtually to shine the spotlight on the need for more research and more solutions to help every mom, baby and family get an equal, healthy and safe start to life. Please consider joining a walk – to support moms and babies during their greatest time of need. Here’s how you can join:
- Sign up today at www.marchforbabies.org/ to create a team or join an existing team.
- Share on social media why you’re helping to lead the fight for the health of all moms and babies.
- Remember to tag @HCAHealthcare and @MarchOfDimes and use #HCAUniteForMoms, #HCAUniteForBabies and #MarchForBabies hashtags.
A true calling
Everyone has a story and purpose in life… some even have a calling. To encourage you to join “March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement”, we’re sharing eight brave and honest stories of HCA Healthcare families and colleagues who inspire us to work even harder in support of March of Dimes’ mission. Learn about their inspiring journeys below…
Medical City Healthcare
After welcoming their newborn daughter, Connlie, at Medical City Arlington, Christine and Jordan Seligman spent just five blissful hours with her before the postnatal nurse noticed a blue spot on her back and whisked her away to the hospital’s high-level NICU. There, the neonatologist diagnosed her with Tetralogy of Fallot — a combination of four severe congenital heart defects, including a hole in her heart.
Connlie was immediately transferred by helicopter to the Heart Center at Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas, where she received world-class congenital heart surgery. Perioperative imaging revealed that the only blood getting to Connlie’s lungs was from a small fetal blood vessel.
Connlie underwent a complete repair to create a normal pathway for blood to go from her heart to her lungs. Dr. Poonam Thankavel, a member of Connlie’s care team led by the Heart Center’s chief of congenital heart surgery, Dr. Christine J. Guleserian, says a successful outcome for their tiny patients depends on having a specialized team. “They walked us through each step,” says Christine. “We knew we had a plan, and we knew that we were constantly being watched over. We were very blessed that we had a successful surgery and that Connlie is doing well.”
TriStar Centennial Medical Center
HCA Healthcare nurse Celeste Wooten is part of the elite SkyLife Air Transport Team at TriStar Centennial Medical Center. She travels across the region to bring precious babies to Nashville to receive life-saving treatment in a specialized, Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Celeste’s passion for caring for the tiniest of patients comes from her own personal journey – not once –but three times as a NICU mom.
Celeste feels like the NICU is a calling for her. Her oldest son, now 11-years-old, was born at 27 weeks and her middle son, born at 30 weeks, is now thriving at eight years old. Her youngest daughter is a rainbow baby – a healthy baby born after losing a baby due to miscarriage, infant loss, stillbirth, or neonatal death – and she holds her close every day with a special necklace as she also spent time in the NICU.
It’s a gift that, although painful at times, Celeste feels led to share with others. “I feel like being here, I can make an impact on all parents because I have been with the best memories and some of the worst memories,” said Celeste.
HCA Healthcare’s TriStar Division debuted SkyLife Air Transport in 2021. Celeste was on the first flight to pick up a 30-week baby girl, who would only spend a few weeks in the NICU before going home.
Overland Park Regional Medical Center
Overland Park, Kansas
Serving as a March of Dimes ambassador family is a source of pride for Chad and Sarah Nelson. It’s also a bittersweet reminder of the child they lost less than an hour after Sarah gave birth to identical twin sons on Jan. 7, 2014. The Nelsons credit support from the March of Dimes – and love and support from their family and extended work families – as key factors in their resilience after such a tragic loss.
After developing Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) – which causes uneven blood flow between the fetuses – Sarah delivered Benjamin and Andrew (Drew) prematurely at 27 weeks. Baby Drew’s 79-day journey in the NICU was just beginning as Chad and Sarah coped with his daily health turns while also grieving and planning baby Ben’s funeral. Drew left the hospital in April – just before the twins’ original due date.
“We were given information about all the support and resources available through the March of Dimes to help our family,” said Chad. Chad is also an HCA Healthcare colleague, serving as the manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation Services at Overland Park Regional Medical Center.
In 2017, the Nelsons became an ambassador family and kicked off the March for Babies in Kansas City, Missouri. They’ve become ardent supporters, raising $20,000 to assist the organization’s efforts to prevent prematurity – even ranking among the top 10 fundraisers in Kansas City in 2020.
Today, Drew is a healthy, active 8-year-old who enjoys playing with his sisters Mallory, 10, and Carly, 6. In Ben’s honor, Chad and Sarah continue to share their story through the March of Dimes and area support groups for parents who’ve lost a twin to help others.
Methodist Children’s Hospital
San Antonio, Texas
First-time mom Kaylyn DeAnda was overjoyed to learn she and her husband Kevin were expecting a little one to arrive in November 2021. Their joy was short-lived when they learned their baby girl, Aubrey, had omphalocele – an abdominal wall defect in which some of Aubrey’s organs were developing outside her body. This birth defect would require Aubrey to receive special care in a neonatal intensive care unit.
After researching their options, Kaylyn sought out Level IV NICU care at HCA Healthcare affiliate Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Kaylyn found comfort in her birth plan and the plan of care for Aubrey that she developed with the hospital’s neonatologists and specialists.
“We knew we wanted Aubrey to be at the Methodist Children’s NICU,” Kaylyn said. “Part of it was the NICU was well-equipped to care for her, and the other part of it was having a perinatal navigator on board as someone who would help us with navigating and setting up appointments with different specialists and really take a bunch of the load off of our shoulders.”
In a turn of events, Aubrey decided she was ready to make her entrance to the world at 32 weeks. After 49 days in the NICU, Aubrey was able to go home, where she continues to reach her milestones and is thriving. “Honestly, we couldn’t ask for better [care],” Kaylyn said. “All of Aubrey’s doctors have been amazing.”
The Woman’s Hospital of Texas
On July 2, 2008, Toby Garza was admitted to the Level IV NICU at HCA Healthcare’s The Woman’s Hospital of Texas after being born at 27 weeks and weighing only 1.10 pounds. Fast forward to July 2, 2021, Toby was back in the Level IV NICU – but this time after 676 weeks of life and looking eye-to-eye with one of his nurses, Micki, who cared for him during his 11-week NICU stay.
Toby – along with his family and mother, Rachel – returned to the Houston, Texas-based hospital to celebrate the milestone birthday with the caregivers they credit it to. The family wanted to not only show their appreciation to the NICU nurses but also “show them the product of what they saved.”
Rachel explained that when she had to have an emergency cesarean delivery after suffering from a placental abruption, she didn’t think they would celebrate any birthdays together. “I went into the OR thinking that was it, I was going to lose my baby. I never thought we’d have 13 hours with him, let alone 13 years.”
In addition to the precious gift of seeing a 2008 NICU graduate again, Rachel and her family treated the dedicated team of neonatal doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and numerous support colleagues to an assortment of desserts and thank you notes from elementary school students.
Rachel will never forget the medical care Toby received during his nearly three-month NICU stay or the emotional support she was given from his nurses and the March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program. She said that because her family can never pay back those that cared for them, they are passionate about paying it forward.
HCA Florida Brandon Hospital
In 2008, HCA Healthcare patient and new mother, Lauren Lantz, returned home from HCA Florida Brandon Hospital in a wheelchair without her twin daughters, who remained in the hospital’s Level III NICU. Next to her in the elevator was another mother in a wheelchair holding a beautiful baby. The emotion of the moment inspired a life-long commitment to share the message that ‘you’re not alone’ to NICU families through a special gift to mothers at discharge, creating the NICU’s Family to Family Circle support group, special remembrance during key holidays and active involvement with the March of Dimes by Lauren and her family.
Lauren, and members of her church, raised the money to provide the hospital’s NICU nurses with a special gift for mothers at discharge – a beautiful teddy bear to hold, with a special letter from Lauren, dated September 1, 2008. In this letter, Lauren shares, “It’s okay to grieve for all those dreams of what you thought your birth experience might be and how they simply didn’t happen.” She ends her letter with, “We hope to celebrate with you soon on the day that you do walk out of the hospital with full arms.”
“Tristan was born at 30 weeks, five days on May 11, 2018,” said Carmen Duke. “He was in the NICU for eight weeks, where he also underwent heart surgery.”
Tristan was born at HCA Healthcare’s Memorial Health in Savannah, Georgia, weighing only 3 pounds and 5 ounces to proud mom, Carmen Duke. Lucky for Carmen – who also serves as the hospital’s director of infection prevention – she and her husband lived only two miles from the hospital, so they were able to do kangaroo care every day.
At three weeks old, Tristan underwent successful heart surgery, followed by a setback of a brain bleed. Carmen said they encountered difficulties but always celebrated the wins.
Present day, Tristan is a thriving, healthy three-year-old. Carmen says that she happily gives back to the March of Dimes for all the support given to her and her family.
HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital and HCA Florida University Medical Center
Fort Pierce & Davie, Florida
Megan Toro had a healthy first pregnancy, so she and her doctors had no reason to suspect anything different when she became pregnant again four years later. However – around 26 weeks – something felt strange with her second pregnancy.
Megan became lethargic and was suddenly very swollen. Her doctor advised her to go to the hospital, and when she arrived, her blood pressure was an alarming 160/100. “They needed to move me to a hospital with a NICU in case I had to deliver right away,” said Megan.
After arriving at HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital, she spent a couple of days under the watchful eyes of physicians, who discovered she had pulmonary edema. Her lungs were filling up with fluid, and they needed to take the baby via cesarean section right away. At 26 weeks, baby Ella was born weighing 1 pound, 10 ounces on October 27, 2021.
“Every single system in her body had a hit,” said HCA Healthcare NICU nurse Kerry Shields, who cared for Ella. “She was very critical when I met her.”
Besides Ella having a hole in her heart, she encountered difficulty with her neck, complications in her intestines, became intubated and had a feeding tube placed. Doctors transferred her to the Level III NICU at Plantation General Hospital because she needed surgery to repair a spontaneous intestinal perforation. On November 15, 2021, Ella went for her second ambulance ride, when her physicians transferred her to a sister facility HCA Florida University Hospital. The brand new, state-of-the-art Level III NICU would become her home for the next six months.
Present day, Ella now weighs 10 pounds and can finally eat on her own. Her care team says Ella is developing a personality, she’s a survivor with a feisty spirit who loves bath time and being held. On May 2, 2022 – after spending seven months in the NICU – Ella graduated and was able to go home with her mom, dad, and big sister Chloe. “We are eternally grateful that they made her so much better,” Megan said.
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About HCA Healthcare
HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.
As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.