At 10 pounds and seven ounces, six-month-old Anya Aguilar may be small, but she’s mighty.
In mid-December, Anya’s expectant mother, Maria Aguilar, began experiencing severe back pain at 23 weeks, approaching 24 weeks, throughout her pregnancy.
Maria, a resident of Arcadia, originally planned to go to La Crosse for an appointment to have the pain checked, but found she couldn’t sit still for that long due to the pain that was worsened considerably.
She couldn’t make it to Whitehall Hospital, the nearest emergency room to Arcadia, either because of the pain.
Instead, Maria ended up heading to the Mayo Clinic in Arcadia, which isn’t normally a place women give birth.
But family doctor and antenatal care provider Dr. Jodi Breska and midwife Kaitlin Earley, along with a team of nurses, were there to help the mother-to-be.
With some emergency care experience, Breska and Earley shared that they hadn’t had the opportunity to experience fear while caring for Maria, as they were too busy working in the situation and determine what to do to help with a safe as a possible delivery.
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Breska was able to connect with a high-risk obstetrician via telemedicine to assist with Maria’s delivery.
A medical flight helicopter with a neonatal care team was called to the clinic, where it landed in the parking lot.
Once the neonatal team was able to set up their supplies in the clinic, Maria was able to give birth to Anya. Breska and Earley had been working to delay the birth until this time trying to keep Maria as calm as possible in the stressful situation.
Through a translator, Maria explained that Anya was a breech birth, meaning her body was delivered first and her head last, a position that can pose risks to the baby. The tiny baby, weighing just 700 grams, or just over 1.5 pounds, was airlifted to Rochester Mayo Clinic by helicopter. Maria followed in an ambulance.
Breska said it was the first time at the Arcadia clinic that a non-full term baby had been born there, with only a few babies having been born there in total since the current clinic opened in 2016.
Anya stayed in a newborn intensive care unit for a total of 4 months before she was able to return home to Arcadia to be with her mother, Maria, and father, Nelson.
Six months after her birth, Anya and her parents returned to the Mayo Clinic in Arcadia on Tuesday to celebrate Anya and reconnect with the team that helped deliver the baby in December.
Maria, via Translator, said she and Nelson felt “very excited, very emotional, happy” about the return visit. “Because sometimes I thought (Anya) wouldn’t make it.”
“We are very grateful for everyone’s help,” Maria said through the translator.
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