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Healthier Together

Spring/Summer 2017 issue
A birth story

A birth story


As a successful Realtor, Ashleigh Zylstra knows that when it comes to helping families find their dream homes, what matters most is “location, location, location.” Last year, when she was expecting her third child, she applied that same mantra to her quest to find the best place to deliver her baby — close to home.

On May 23, 2016, Ashleigh and her husband, Luke, welcomed Ariana into their family at Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center. The healthy, 7-pound, 3-ounce girl joined big sisters Addisyn and Averie, ages 5 and 3 respectively. The birth story has a happy ending, but the pregnancy journey came with concerns for Ashleigh, who had experienced complications during two previous pregnancies.

“We had struggled to get pregnant with Addisyn and Averie, and we were overjoyed yet surprised to learn I was pregnant with our third child — without the help of any fertility treatments,” Ashleigh said. “But mixed with the excitement was worry because of my history of preterm labor.

“Our first daughter was born premature at 35 weeks and spent time in the NICU,” Ashleigh said. “With our second, I began experiencing preterm labor at 24 weeks. In addition to receiving shots to delay labor, I was put on bedrest for the remainder of the pregnancy before delivering at 37 weeks.”

Focused on a healthy pregnancy

Though there was no definitive reason why Ashleigh had experienced preterm labor and delivery in both of her previous pregnancies, she was committed to doing everything within her power to have a full-term birth. Delivering at 39 or 40 weeks allows for better growth and development of a baby’s vital organs, including the brain, lungs and kidneys.

Ashleigh’s obstetrician and gynecologist, Eugene Louie-Ng, MD, with Novant Health UVA Health System Lake Manassas OB/GYN, closely monitored the high-risk pregnancy. Through a number of diagnostic tests, Ashleigh learned there were issues with the blood flow to the placenta which were impeding fetal growth.

To increase blood flow, she took a baby aspirin every day during the pregnancy. She also received weekly progesterone injections through her third trimester until 37 weeks to prevent preterm labor. “Although I was not put on total bedrest, my doctor recommended that I limit activities and get extra help from friends and family,” Ashleigh said.

“A pregnancy is considered ‘high-risk’ when there are potential complications that could affect the mother, the baby or both,” care to help ensure the best outcome for the mom and baby.”

Ashleigh chose Haymarket Medical Center as the place to deliver baby No. 3 for several reasons, including the ability to have a homelike birth experience with the backup of an expert team of healthcare professionals and the latest maternal-fetal technology. “When I toured the facility, I was so impressed. It didn’t feel like a hospital or sound like a hospital. It is beautiful, quiet and comfortable,” she said.

“It’s important to have access to convenient and leading-edge care,” said Dr. Louie-Ng. “At Haymarket Medical Center, we provide both. We have 24/7 neonatologists in-house to support our care of highrisk pregnancies. All the while, we focus on the family and provide a warm, caring environment where the patient can feel comfortable and confident that the team is providing an outstanding level of care.”

A remarkable birth

One day shy of 39 weeks, Ashleigh’s water broke. After a short time in labor — and with Luke by her side — Ariana was born.

“The birth experience was remarkable,” Ashleigh said. “The care was organized, seamless and very patient-focused. From labor through delivery and postpartum care, my doctors and nurses were encouraging — and everyone treated me like a person, not a patient.”

The Women’s and Children’s Center at Haymarket Medical Center opened in 2015 with a contemporary design, luxurious furnishings and special amenities to create a birthing experience that the entire family can cherish. The spacious birthing suites are designed to provide a safe, comfortable and caring environment. And the private postpartum suites include plenty of space for visitors or loved ones to spend the night.

It’s all part of Novant Health UVA Health System’s commitment to providing unmatched women’s services — designed to meet the healthcare needs of women at every stage of life — at our three Novant Health UVA Health System hospitals: Culpeper Medical Center, Haymarket Medical Center and Prince William Medical Center.

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