The Story Behind Avista’s Patient Ambassador for the March of Dimes
The Birth of Lane
As first-time parents, Roelyn Werner and her husband wasted no time mapping out their son’s future. They’d just put an offer in on a new home and planned to be settled in long before their son’s due date.
“My husband and I had a great plan,” explained Roelyn Werner. “Having our son 12 weeks early was definitely not in the plan.”
Everything changed on Super Bowl Sunday. Roelyn’s mother-in-law was checking her father-in-law’s blood pressure. Roelyn jokingly asked her to check her blood pressure as well. It came back 190/110. Roelyn works as a medical assistant at CHPG Senior Health, so she was immediately alarmed by the reading.
Roelyn and her husband headed to the Centura Health Emergency Center at the 84th Avenue Neighborhood Health Center where she works. By the time she arrived, her blood pressure had spiked to 190/176 and all the tests pointed to preeclampsia.
After a short ambulance ride to Avista Adventist Hospital, Roelyn found herself surrounded by eight nurses in the New Life Center. She was given magnesium to help combat the severe preeclampsia as well as a steroid shot to reduce her son’s risk of developing lung problems. It quickly became clear Roelyn was going to have to deliver her son, even though she was in just her 28th week of pregnancy.
“My kidneys were beginning to fail. My physician, Dr. Allison Schultz, had wanted me to remain pregnant for a few days longer, but she explained to me that if I didn’t deliver, I was going to crash and burn,” said Roelyn.
Roelyn opted for a C-section and delivered her son Lane four days after being admitted to the hospital. He weighed 2 lb 4 oz.
“When I first saw him, it scared me to death to see my baby on a ventilator. He was literally skin and bones. But then I realized everything about him was perfect, he was just small.”
Lane began his life on a ventilator. When he grew a little stronger, he graduated to a CPAP machine which feeds a mixture of air and oxygen into a baby’s lungs, essentially mimicking a breathing pattern. As his lungs developed, Lane relied only on pressurized oxygen and eventually regular oxygen. “He’s been so strong. He’s more of an inspiration to me than I could ever be to him,” Roelyn explains.
Roelyn also found strength among the nurses in Avista Adventist Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Throughout the more than two months she spent at her son’s side in the NICU, Avista’s team of nurses became Roelyn's second family. A family she could count on to consistently provide a steady dose of comfort, care and hope.
Roelyn looks forward to the day when she can look at her son’s face without seeing cords and tubes. But for now, she understands that Lane depends on them. “I’m very blessed. If this had happened 50 years ago, there’s a good chance neither of us would have made it, but because of the advances in equipment and the amazing medical care, I get to bring a special human being into the world and watch him grow. I have Dr. Schultz and Avista Adventist Hospital to thank for our survival.”
Although we expect that each birth experience will be smooth and trouble-free, it's reassuring to know that the New Life Birth Center has a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and is equipped for emergency situations and complications. Avista offers the following services designed to handle complicated births and babies with special needs:
- Dedicated surgical suite for cesarean births
- Level III NICU Nursery-the largest in the area-with advanced capabilities to care for premature and sick babies
- Sophisticated diagnostic services
- Neonatologists (physicians who specialize in caring for sick or premature newborns)
- Consultations with perinatologists (physicians who specialize in high-risk pregnancies)
- Specially trained staff
- Anesthesiologists in house 24 hours a day
- Obstetrician in house 24 hours a day
- Neonatal nurse practitioners on duty in-house around the clock