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Cassie Rae

New Mother finds comfort in Familiar Surroundings

Julie Wood’s connection to Sacred Heart Hospital runs deep. Both she and her husband were delivered by the same obstetrician at Sacred Heart. She worked as a medical assistant and technician at the hospital, and she received prenatal care there.

So when high blood pressure required her to be induced at 39 weeks, Julie found comfort in being in a faith-based hospital, surrounded by people she trusts. After 29 hours in labor, Cassie Rae entered this world at 6:31 p.m. on March 12, 2016, at The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart.

“The delivery was rough,” Julie recalls. “Cassie was positioned face-up, her heart rate was in the 60s and the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. After the delivery, she made grunting noises that signaled respiratory distress so she was taken for observation.”

As Cassie’s neonatologist was evaluating her the next day, he noticed she was having a seizure. A workup revealed the seizures were caused by bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke) when she was in utero. Doctors administered medications to control her seizures, which were occurring 10 to 12 times every hour. After three days, the seizures finally stopped.

“The most heartbreaking part of Cassie being in the NICU was not being able to hold her as much as I wanted to,” she says. “But Sacred Heart is a second home for me, so I had peace of mind knowing that she was in good hands.”

A few months later, Julie noticed her daughter’s head appeared misshapen. A CT scan revealed excess cerebrospinal fluid had collected in fluid-filled spaces in the brain (ventricles). Shortly before Cassie Rae turned 3 months old, a shunt was placed to drain the fluid.

Doctors prepared the family for worst-case scenarios; she may never walk, and she could have cognitive delays or have paralysis on her right side. “But Cassie continues to defy the odds,” Julie says.

“God has guided us through every step of her recovery,” she says. “Cassie is a typical baby; she’s talking and took her first steps the other day.”

Julie says her connection to Sacred Heart made the difference in her daughter’s outcomes. “God provided a safe place for us at Sacred Heart and placed us in the hands of proficient and caring doctors and nurses,” says Julie. “If I were at any other hospital I would have felt out of place.”


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