During Alisha K.’s first pregnancy, she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) at 24 weeks. She needed constant monitoring of her blood sugar and took insulin for the remainder of her pregnancy. Because of GDM, Alisha was induced at 39 weeks and delivered a healthy boy, Luca, now 5, via cesarean section (C-section).
When she found out she was pregnant again (this time with twins), Alisha turned to obstetrician-gynecologist David Badway, MD, the same doctor who delivered her son. Dr. Badway practices at UPMC Magee-Womens Specialty Services at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, and at Magee Specialty Services locations in Moon Township and West Mifflin.
“Having a Magee doctor was very important to us. My husband and I knew this pregnancy was high risk and that they had the best knowledge and ability to take care of us and our children,” says Alisha, now 35, who lives in Wexford and works as a registered nurse at UPMC.
Carrying twins was an added risk factor on top of her medical history. Those were just the beginning of multiple complications Alisha and her team of UPMC doctors would deal with over the next nine months.
“She started out with one high-risk condition, then developed three more during her pregnancy,” says Dr. Badway. “No one becomes pregnant thinking these things are going to happen to them. That’s why you want to go where you can receive world-class care. The highest level of care is available at Magee.”
Alisha’s prenatal visits with Dr. Badway took place at Magee Specialty Services at the UPMC Lemieux in Cranberry.
“It’s a beautiful facility and it’s just 10 minutes from my home,” says Alisha, who adds that she appreciated parking was never a challenge.
Alisha also met with two other obstetricians in the practice: Emily Curtin, MD, and Stephanie Nicholas, MD.
“I had every intention of having Dr. Badway deliver my twins. But you can’t choose that moment,” she says. “I thought it was a good idea to see other doctors in case things didn’t go as planned.”
For extra monitoring and care, Alisha was referred to the maternal fetal medicine (MFM) specialists at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. While one of her consults was over video, she traveled to UPMC Magee in Oakland — just a 25-minute drive away — for her other visits.
Alisha’s doctors kept a close watch on her and the babies as her pregnancy progressed. At 16 weeks, a routine glucose test confirmed she had GDM and needed insulin. In addition to regular monitoring of Alisha’s blood sugar and insulin use, Magee’s MFM specialists began scheduling ultrasounds at 20 weeks to check on the twins’ growth.
At 31 weeks, Alisha experienced another complication — pre-term labor — that led to twice-weekly non-stress tests at Magee to check on the babies’ health and monitor for contractions. At 34 weeks, she was diagnosed with gestational hypertension, or high blood pressure, yet another complication that required additional monitoring. A C-section initially was scheduled for 38 weeks, but that diagnosis — and the fact both babies were breech (facing legs forward) — prompted Dr. Badway to move the planned delivery ahead by one week.
Alisha was understandably nervous about the multiple complications she faced during her pregnancy. But she felt confident in her doctors’ abilities.
“I knew I was in good hands,” says Alisha. “I had full confidence in my doctors and Magee. I knew no matter what I would be going through, they’ve seen it all and they’ve taken care of it. That was very reassuring. I knew the babies were going to be okay — and I was going to be okay, too.”
Alisha also appreciated the support she received from the staff at both her obstetrician’s office and at Magee.
“They saw me so frequently we became like friends. They celebrated along with me each milestone we reached with the babies,” she says.
A Team of Care Experts
Throughout Alisha’s pregnancy, Dr. Badway kept abreast of her testing and care with maternal fetal medicine specialists via UPMC’s electronic medical records (EMR).
“EMR allows us to communicate and coordinate care. I can read notes from the MFM specialists and see what they recommend and any tests they order,” he says.
In addition, Dr. Badway and his colleagues at Magee Specialty Services meet regularly to discuss care of high-risk patients like Alisha.
“We review each case so everyone is familiar with the patient, no matter who is on call when she delivers,” he says.
Patients also benefit from always having an ob-gyn from the practice on call — and onsite — at Magee to handle deliveries. Anesthesiologists, neonatal intensive care (NICU) specialists, and other practitioners are also onsite 24/7.
One week before her planned C-section, Alisha’s water broke. By the time she arrived at Magee, she was fully dilated, and the first baby was breech.
“There was no time to wait. We had to act immediately,” says Dr. Curtin, who was on call at the hospital and waiting for Alisha.
“Emergency deliveries like this were always a challenge when I worked at a community hospital,” she says. “But here at Magee, we’re always ready for anything and we have every resource we need right here.”
Alisha was quickly wheeled into the operating room where two separate NICU teams and an obstetric team were waiting to jump into action.
“It was scary, but I knew there was nowhere else I’d rather be. I knew they would take the very best care of me and my girls,” says Alisha.
Nearly 70 minutes after her water broke, Dr. Curtin delivered Alexa, followed one minute later by Lydia. The babies were placed in incubators for temperature control, had their blood sugar tested regularly, and were monitored for jaundice. Three days later, they went home.
Alisha met with Dr. Curtin for her postpartum visit.
“I wanted to thank her for getting my girls into the world safely,” she says. “We are blessed with two healthy, happy babies. We are so thankful for everyone at Magee and Magee Specialty Services who made this possible.”
And, with UPMC’s strong network of pediatric care north of the city and beyond, Alisha’s family continues to receive top-notch medical care, right in their neighborhood. Today, the children regularly see Lawrence Butler, MD, a pediatrician at UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics – Pittsburgh Pediatrics, Wexford office.
Alisha's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.