Prescription Health: Preemies defy the odds

Prescription Health: Preemies defy the odds
1 month 1 week 3 days ago Tuesday, June 11 2024 Jun 11, 2024 June 11, 2024 10:28 PM June 11, 2024 in News

One in 10 babies born this year will be born prematurely, which could lead to problems with their lungs, heart, and brain.

One woman born a preemie didn’t let that stop her from doing what most doctors said she could never do.

Gabriela Gastelum, 43, was born at 25 weeks, weighing just a pound.

“Since I was born so small, I had a grade three brain bleed,” Gastelum said.

Two shunts were connected at birth to a catheter that drained the fluid from her brain to around her abdomen. It was replaced six times. Gastelum was told she could never have kids.

“There’s no way. If you do, it’s either you or the babies that are gonna survive,” Gastelum said.

But for her, the desire to have a family was worth the risk.

“We had to go through IVF. We ended up going through six cycles,” Gastelum said.

Finally, Gastelum was expecting twins. Then, at 30 weeks, Dr. Thomas Beaumont, a neurosurgeon at UC San Diego Health says, “She was essentially comatose at that time, not responsive, not speaking.”

Fluid was building up in her brain again.

“So, the pressure in her abdomen had gotten so high that it offset the pressure in her head, and the shunt no longer worked,” Beaumont said.

Beaumont had to put in an external shunt to drain the fluid.

“We were able to insert a needle into the shunt valve and take off a large volume of cerebral spinal fluid that allowed her really to wake up almost instantaneously over the next 60 to 90 minutes,” De. Beaumont said.

Two weeks later, babies Liyah and Natalia were delivered via C-section, and they came with a surprise.

“The second twin was born with that shunt catheter in her hand,” Dr. Beaumont said.

The old shunt in Gabriela that was too risky to remove during pregnancy was removed by Liyah.

One twin stayed in the NICU for 56 days and the other 107 days. Now, the family is at home — healthy, happy and ready to roll.

Watch the video above for the full story. 

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