When Carol and James Waeckerle were expecting their second child, they were not concerned. There were no complications when they had their first son, Owen, 6, so when it was time for their 20-week ultrasound, they expected things to be routine.
“During the ultrasound, my OB/Gyn became unsettled because he saw a CPAM, or a congenital pulmonary airway malformation,” Carol says. “I then became unsettled because I didn’t know what that meant. It was very scary when we went home and read more about it on the Internet.”
Carol’s doctor immediately referred her to the Fetal Care Center.
“The very next day, I was at the Fetal Care Center for another ultrasound, and we were able to get more information,” she says. It was then that the Waeckerles learned their yet-to-be-born son Dillon’s CPAM meant that the lower left portion of his lung was not developing normally.
A congenital pulmonary airway malformation (CPAM) does not work like normal lung tissue and can take up space in the baby’s chest, leading to further complications in some babies.
“It was so large that it was pushing Dillon’s heart to the other side of his chest,” Carol recalls. “There was a lot of stress until the delivery, but I tried to enjoy the pregnancy.”
A small percentage of babies with CPAMs can develop signs of fluid overload or heart failure, but fortunately Dillon did not have these complications, which alleviated some of the stress for mom and dad.
Monitored Closely During Pregnancy
As a Fetal Care Center patient, Carol began visiting the center for regular ultrasounds every week. As time progressed and the growth of the CPAM stabilized she had ultrasounds every two weeks.
Because babies with a CPAM do not need to be delivered by C-section and typically go full-term, maternal fetal medicine specialists at the Fetal Care Center carefully monitored Carol and her baby.
A Healthy Baby Boy
On Dillon’s due date, Carol’s water broke at home and she arrived at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at 4:30 a.m. Dillon was born less than an hour later.
After being examined by the newborn medicine team from St. Louis Children’s Hospital, it was determined that Dillon could stay at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and was taken to the special care nursery. He was able to room-in with his mom until they both went home 48 hours later.
Because Dillon had no complications with his heart or breathing, it was decided that he would return three months later to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where Martin Keller, MD, performed surgery to remove the CPAM.
“Dillon had his surgery on a Tuesday and went home on Friday,” Carol says. “Two weeks later, you would never know that anything had happened. He’s wonderful and he shouldn’t have to go back to Children’s because of the CPAM. He has no limitations or restrictions.”
Grateful for Excellent Care
The Waeckerles are grateful for the care Carol and Dillon received through the Fetal Care Center.
“The Fetal Care Center was great because I was able to meet so many people who were involved in my care and Dillon’s before having him,” says Carol, who became close to the ultrasound technicians who she saw regularly.
Because she had never been to St. Louis Children’s Hospital or required care at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Carol wasn’t certain of what she should expect.
“I was very pleased with my postpartum care at Barnes-Jewish. I appreciated being told if my baby was too sick I could be on the antepartum unit if needed, rather than where the healthier babies and their moms were,” she says. “It was very nice how they consider the patients, both mom and baby.”