Konica's StoryJun 6, 2019
Konica recounts her experience in delivering her first child at the Women's Center
Konica Pierce Sheffield, a women's center patient at Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett
Pregnant with her first child, Konica Pierce Sheffield, a 34-year-old systems engineer from Memphis, visited her Ob/Gyn for a routine exam at 31 weeks into her pregnancy. What her doctor found was anything but routine — her baby’s amniotic fluid was low, and Konica’s blood pressure was high.
“My doctor basically told me, 'Run, don't walk, to Saint Francis Hospital - Bartlett,' " Konica says. "So, I went straight to the hospital where they admitted me.”
Konica was admitted to Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett’s Women’s Center under the care of Ob/Gyn Rye Estepp, M.D., who diagnosed Konica with preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure.
“They admitted me on a Friday,” she says. “They gave me magnesium with the goal of getting my blood pressure down. I was monitored me for five days. When my blood pressure spiked again, Dr. Estepp decided to do an emergency C-section.”
Tiny, but healthy
Vivienne Sheffield came into the world on a hot July morning, weighing just three pounds, seven ounces. Although Vivienne was otherwise healthy, because she was so tiny and eight weeks premature, she spent nearly a month in Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Konica also stayed in the hospital for just over a week in order for Dr. Estepp to monitor her blood pressure.
“All things considered, the C-section went great,” Konica says. “I was up and walking around the next day. Even though she was in the NICU, they gave me lots of quite time with Vivienne so I could hold and eventually nurse her. It ended up being a really positive experience.”
Baby’s homecoming day takes an unexpected turn
By August 18, Vivienne weighed 4.5 pounds and was ready to go home from the hospital. Konica, on the other hand, was ready to be readmitted.
“I was on my way to the hospital to drop off breast milk on the day we were going to bring Vivienne home,” she says. “The whole morning I’d been having abdominal pain. By the time I got to Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett, instead of going to the NICU, I went straight to the ER.”
A few hours later, Konica was having emergency gallbladder surgery.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “It turned out that this whole time I thought I was having heartburn, what I really was experiencing was gallbladder pain.”
Prior to having surgery, Konica was surprised to be admitted to the same room in the Family Birthing Center she’d been in just a few weeks earlier.
“My blood pressure was high,” she says. “I had to wait for it to go down before I could have surgery. It was really nice that they brought me back to my old maternity room so I could nurse Vivienne and spend time with her while I waited,” Konica says. “I really can’t say enough good things about Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett — everyone from the nursing staff to food service to the NICU staff — they were all great.”