Jessica Schaedel wasn’t considered to be a high-risk pregnancy. Other than suffering from severe morning sickness throughout her pregnancy, a condition known as hyperemesis, the 25-year-old was very healthy. When she was involved in a car accident at 26 gestational weeks, the status of Jessica’s pregnancy quickly changed.
“I hydroplaned on the freeway and hit the guardrail with the front of my car going 75 miles per hour,” Jessica explains. “An 18-wheeler hit the back of my car going 65 miles per hour. The car was totaled, but I somehow walked away from that wreck. God was definitely watching out for us that morning.”
Jessica was cleared at the scene of the accident by members of the EMS team, but she went to Texas Health Plano to be further examined. A KB stain test to look for fetal hemoglobin in her bloodstream showed that there was some trauma to the placenta, and Jessica experienced contractions for a few hours.
Thankfully, baby Schaedel looked healthy on the monitors and Jessica’s contractions stopped. She was allowed to go home after 24 hours but was advised that, due to the traumatic nature of the car wreck, she was at an increased risk of delivering early ― which would prove to be the case.
The Most Advanced Maternal Care in Collin County
Baby Jackson was born at 32 weeks, weighing in at just over 4 pounds. The Schaedels had chosen not to learn of the baby’s sex ahead of time, so their little boy was a sweet surprise in the delivery room.
“We decided not to find out what we were having because there are so few true surprises in life,” Jessica says. “Up until that point, I was pretty sure Baby S. was a girl, although we both really wanted a boy. I didn’t find much on the girl name we had picked out, but one of the meanings I found for Jackson was ‘God has been gracious’. That was an understatement for how we felt after the wreck, and it was at that point I was pretty sure Baby S. was a boy. When Jackson was born, we were both very thankful for his safe arrival and for him staying put for an extra six weeks after my wreck.”
Baby Jackson ended up spending 40 days in the Neonatal ICU (NICU) at Texas Health Plano. Having been born early, he needed the time for his lungs to better develop and to learn how to feed. As Collin County’s only Level IV NICU, the Schaedels found peace of mind in knowing their little one was in the right place to receive the advanced care he needed to thrive.
Being a fourth-year medical student, Jessica was keenly aware of the importance of being prepared for the unexpected. After talking with colleagues in the medical community, she and her husband knew Texas Health Plano, a Level IV maternal care center, the highest designation by the Texas Department of State Health Services, was where they wanted to welcome in their baby. The couple also chose the hospital because it offers a 24/7 obstetrical hospitalist on-call, which meant that if an emergency arose and Jessica needed to deliver before her OB/GYN could make it, a specialist would be available.
“This was really important to us, and it’s not something you find at every hospital,” Jessica says. “Additionally, Texas Health Plano’s Level IV NICU with a full staff of neonatologists, respiratory therapists, nurses and other providers equipped to provide the highest level of neonatal care was a real plus. When Jackson came quickly in the middle of the night, we were thankful for all of these things. He needed some help breathing initially, but knowing that our care team, including NICU nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners and neonatologists on the medical staff, were prepared and that we were in capable hands made that experience much less scary for us.”
During their stay, the Schaedels celebrated Jackson’s first Valentine’s Day in the NICU with help from the Texas Health Plano staff. Staff members shared hand-knit baby outfits they had made along with Jackson’s heart-shaped footprints for the family to include in his first photos. The “photo shoot” provided a welcome distraction for Jessica and her husband and brought a sense of normalcy to the uncertainty of Jackson’s first days.
“We were always confident that Jackson’s care team, including NICU nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners and neonatologists on the medical staff, were capable of managing anything that arose, which was a blessing,” Jessica adds. “However, the biggest differentiator for us was the staff themselves. They didn’t just tend to Jackson’s medical needs; they truly cared for and loved all three of us so well during our stay. We looked forward to going to the NICU every day not only to see Jackson, but also to hang out with his care team. We shared many laughs and made lots of great memories as all of us worked hard to get Jackson home.”
To learn more about NICU care at Texas Health, visit TexasHealth.org/NICU.