On June 30th Cheri Sentile, a 31-year-old pregnant mother, arrived by ambulance to St. Boniface after an intense three-hour-long ride over winding, unpaved paths.
“I was so scared. I was sure that I would die and that my baby would, too.”
Seven months earlier, Cheri was excited to learn that she was pregnant with her second child. She and her husband were ready to welcome a baby boy into the family, and their young daughter was eager to become a big sister.
The expecting couple planned to deliver at St.Therese Hospital in Miragoane, Haiti—near their hometown. At the six month mark, Cheri and her husband went to a prenatal visit with the doctor they expected to deliver their son. The couple was surprised to learn that Cheri had pre-eclampsia, a common condition in pregnancy that causes high blood pressure.
Cheri didn’t know much about her diagnosis but was told that her condition, although fairly prevalent, was serious and could put her life and her baby’s life at risk.
A little over a month after her first prenatal visit, Cheri began having serious contractions, and she soon realized that she was in labor almost two months before her due date; her worst fears were quickly becoming reality. “I wasn’t supposed to deliver until August, 13th, so I prayed that the pains I felt weren’t labor contractions,” she remembers.”But the pain was so intense, and given my condition, I knew I had to get to the hospital quickly.”
Among its many risks, pre-eclampsia can increase the likelihood of premature labor—as in Cheri’s case.
When the Sentile family arrived at St. Therese, they were told that her OB/GYN wasn’t there and that Cheri would have to be seen at another hospital. She was devastated. “I felt helpless,” she pauses. “I knew something was wrong, and the doctor I had already seen wasn’t there to help me. I didn’t know what to do.”
Scared and in excruciating pain, Cheri was hoisted into a St.Therese ambulance and transported to Fond-des-Blancs by the hospital’s emergency medical team. Cheri’s mother and husband rode with her in the ambulance and provided some comfort during what felt like a days-long journey.
“It felt like forever. I just wanted to be out of the car,” she recalls.
When Cheri and her family arrived at St. Boniface, she was rushed into the operating room, where our OB/GYN resident, Dr. Calvin Jean Wilson, performed an emergency cesarean section.
With the help of SBHF doctors and nurses, baby Urison was born on June, 30—six weeks premature, but otherwise healthy. Mom and baby have both made quick recoveries in a few short weeks.
Urison is still in the NICU, being monitored carefully by our medical team. Cheri comes in regularly to breastfeed and cannot wait until she is able to take her baby home to meet his older sister.
After all they’ve endured, Cheri and her husband are finally able to breathe a sigh of relief and shower baby Urison in attention and love.
“Being sent to St. Boniface was the best thing that could’ve happened to me,” the thankful mom beams. “I’m so grateful to the entire staff because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be alive and my son may not be, either.”