March 8, 2019

Patience, Faith Defy the Odds for New Parents

Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson

All the odds seemed to be stacked against UAMS patient Amy Johnson to have a child. Not only was she months from 40 and had experienced two miscarriages, she suffered from polycystic ovarian syndrome and had undergone two fibroid removal surgeries. But, could it be true that her pregnancy test read positive?

Amy and her husband, Bradley, residents of Gurdon, found out they were going to receive the answer to their prayers after two and a half years of trying to conceive for the third time. After a total of five years of attempts, they could see a glimmer of hope.

Her next step was to go to the one place that came to her mind: UAMS.

“I had been seeing another doctor who had left to join another practice,” she said. “I had been a patient at UAMS before and something deep down told me to go back. I called and explained my situation and was told I should probably see high-risk obstetrician Dr. Paul Wendel. I think they could hear the desperation in my voice.”

Not sure what the future held for her, Amy wanted someone experienced. She was looking forward to what Dr. Wendel had to say during her appointment. But, her excitement turned to fear one evening when she started bleeding and passed what she thought was tissue.

“I had suffered two miscarriages before and I thought we had suffered a third,” she said. “My husband and I were devastated but decided to not give up. I kept my appointment with Dr. Wendel because I wanted to know what was going on with my body. I was not getting any younger, and if my husband and I wanted a child, time was of the essence.”

During her initial visit, Dr. Wendel decided to treat Amy for recurrent pregnancy loss, and she would return to his clinic when her hormones level were where they should be to begin tests. What Amy didn’t expect was a call the next day saying that she needed to have an ultrasound because she might have a molar pregnancy, which is an abnormal growth in your uterus. She immediately left her job and headed to Dr. Wendel’s office, trying to stay positive but thinking the worst.

“While doing the ultrasound, the technician began to ask me so many questions,” she said. “I couldn’t understand nor wrap my head around why she wanted to know all of these things. She finally told me that she saw a baby on the ultrasound. I immediately asked if the baby had a heartbeat; she said yes it does. Imagine my surprise when I saw this tiny being flipping around inside of me.”

The only way the couple could describe their excitement was “over the moon.” “It was a surreal moment. I just cried and I called my husband and he started crying. It was just a total shock to both of us,” Amy said.

Shortly after the happy news, the Johnson’s joy was interrupted when Amy began bleeding again.

“I immediately called UAMS’ ANGELS after-hours number and explained what was going on,” she said. “They told me to come in to the hospital. After an ultrasound, it was determined that I had a fibroid that had ruptured and the baby was OK.”

Amy soon learned that she had gestational diabetes, which she was able to control with proper diet, exercise and help from a diabetic nurse and dietitian. In spite of these health challenges, Amy, with the help of Dr. Wendel, her family and faith, never lost hope.

“She really takes diabetes as a challenge,” Dr. Wendel said. “She’s probably the easiest patient we see in a day.”

“Her pregnancy is different because of her age and the number of (pregnancy) losses she has had,” Dr. Wendel said. “She’s at the extremes of age; 16 years old is early and over 35 years is extreme.”

Even with the slight possibility of the baby having Down syndrome, Dr. Wendel said Amy and Bradley were prepared to handle whatever outcome.

“She said she wasn’t going to be tested (to see if the baby had Down syndrome). She said whatever God gives me, I’m fine with; I’m going to be that baby’s mother.”

And with that assurance, Amy found the strength to jump over every health hurdle during her pregnancy.

“I just know everything is going to be OK. When I got pregnant I prayed and prayed and turned it over to the Lord. I just had a feeling that everything is going to be OK. I’ve learned to trust God. When he’s ready for us to have something, be ready to receive it. My husband kept encouraging me to not give up and saying that we’re going to get through this.”

The Arrival of Callen

The Johnson’s new addition to their family, Callen, was scheduled to arrive January 25, 2012, but due to Amy’s high blood pressure and the threat of toxemia, Dr. Wendel decided to deliver him early — on Thursday, Dec. 29.

“It was a complete shock to wake up that Thursday morning and realize that my baby was going to be here that day,” Amy said.

Even though Amy could not be awake during the C-section like she had hoped, she was able to wake up in time to see her healthy baby boy, born at 8:06 p.m. at 5 pounds and 10 ounces, getting his first bath. Callen only stayed one extra night at UAMS due to a high bilirubin number and headed home to start his new life the next day.

“My experience at UAMS was wonderful,” Amy said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better doctor, better staff or better treatment. I can’t imagine going any place else and getting that type of care.”