Will my baby have blue eyes or green? Will she have curly hair or straight hair? For a first-time mom, the questions that arise with a new baby are endless. Although every woman has unique concerns during pregnancy, one shared anxiety is “will my baby be healthy?” TriHealth’s Center for Maternal Cardiac Care (CMCC) provides treatment for women like Lydia Bachman who desire to become mothers despite their existing heart conditions. CMCC works with each mom-to-be on developing a care plan that puts these anxieties to rest.
Lydia welcomed bright-eyed baby Gideon into the world on January 27, 2018 at TriHealth Good Samaritan Hospital. Although delivery is the pivotal point of pregnancy, Lydia’s journey to this moment consisted of other hurdles, given her heart issue. Lydia’s heart condition is called restrictive cardiomyopathy, which means her heart muscles do not allow her ventricles to fill properly. According to the American Heart Association, this condition is one that causes the heart muscle to be stiff and lose flexibility.
Although Lydia’s cardiac issue does not limit her physically, she knew it could cause complications in pregnancy. As a nurse on the cardiac step-down unit at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Lydia recognized the importance of finding a doctor who specialized in heart conditions and pregnancy. This led her to William Schnettler, MD and his team at the Center for Maternal Cardiac Care.
Lydia felt the care team at CMCC welcomed her with open arms and reassurance. She was confident in the care she received thanks to the dedication Dr. Schnettler and his team made in developing the best plan for her. Lydia said Dr. Schnettler sought out research and consulted other physicians on her heart condition and pregnancy to make sure the treatment met her needs.
The goal of her care plan was to ensure her heart supported her health and baby Gideon’s as he developed. This required many more doctor visits than what is required of most maternity patients. She visited her cardiologist monthly and had echo tests to examine her heart’s functioning. The team also regularly monitored the flexibility of her heart muscle.
During her final month of pregnancy, Lydia started bi-weekly amniotic fluid assessments and non-stress tests to make sure Gideon was healthy and progressing. Sometimes she had as many as four appointments in a week.
Despite the stress caused by so many appointments, Lydia felt supported and welcomed by each staff member. She said everyone from the front office staff to each doctor knew her by name. Her cardiologist and obstetrician communicated regularly and worked as a team to make sure she received the best care.
Lydia delivered a healthy 6 pound 14 ounce baby Gideon at Good Samaritan Hospital during week 37 of her pregnancy. She recalled hearing him cry upon arrival and described him as “perfect.” She and her husband feel happy and joyful in their new role as Gideon’s parents.
Lydia encourages other women with heart conditions to speak with their cardiologist if pregnancy is something they desire. Despite the stressors the extra doctor visits and time commitments caused, she said she is so thankful for the help of Dr. Schnettler and his team. To schedule an appointment with the Center for Maternal Cardiac Care, call 866 846 4767.