Preemies Defy the Odds … Not Once but Twice!


SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — One in ten babies born this year will be born prematurely. That is when a baby is born before or at 37 weeks of pregnancy. They can develop problems with their lungs, heart, and brain … issues they will have to deal with for their entire lives.  One woman born a preemie didn’t let that stop her from doing what most doctors said she could never do. Preemies

Forty-three years ago, Gabriela Gastelum was born at 25 weeks — weighing just a pound.

“Since I was born so small, I had a grade three brain bleed,” says Gabriela.

Two shunts were connected at birth to a catheter that drained the fluid from her brain to around her abdomen.  It was replaced six times. Gabriela was told she could never have kids.

Gabriela says “There’s no way. If you do, it’s either you or the babies that are gonna survive.“

But for her … the desire to have a family was worth the risk.

“We had to go through IVF. We ended up going through six cycles,” explains Gabriela.

Finally, Gabriela was expecting twins. Then, at 30 weeks.

Thomas Beaumont, MD, Neurosurgeon at UC San Diego Health says, “She was essentially comatose at that time, not responsive, not speaking.”

Fluid was building up in her brain again.

Doctor Beaumont says, “So, the pressure in her abdomen had gotten so high that it offset the pressure in her head, and the shunt no longer worked.”

Doctor Beaumont had to put in an external shunt to drain the fluid.

“We were able to insert a needle into the shunt valve and take off a large volume of cerebral spinal fluid that allowed her really to wake up almost instantaneously over the next 60 to 90 minutes,” explains Doctor Beaumont.

And two weeks later it was safe to deliver the babies by C-section.

Babies Liyah and Natalia – came with a surprise!

Doctor Beaumont says, “The second twin was born with that shunt catheter in her hand.”

The old shunt in Gabriela that was too risky to remove during pregnancy – was removed by Liyah!

Gabriela says, “And I was like, oh my god. That was causing all that issue.”

One twin stayed in the NIC-U for 56 days and the other 107 days – and now …

The family is all home — healthy, happy and ready to roll.

A few weeks after giving birth, Gabriela needed to have a new shunt put in. This revision was also performed by Doctor Beaumont and his team.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor, Matt Goldschmidt, Videographer.



REPORT #3181

BACKGROUND: It is estimated that one in nine babies are born prematurely in the United States. Premature babies are considered babies born 3 weeks earlier than their expected birth date. Preemies have not had enough time to grow and develop in the mother’s womb as they should have, therefore need special care when born. Premature birth is mostly caused by diabetes, hypertension, heart or kidney problems, and an infection of the amniotic membranes. There are ways to lower the risk of delivering early such as eating a healthy diet, lowering stress, not smoking or doing drugs, and managing all medical conditions with a professional. Being diligent in prenatal care during a pregnancy can also help lower the risk of delivering prematurely as a doctor can catch or identify any issues early in the pregnancy.

(Source:,they%20should%20have%20before%20birth and,vaccinations%20is%20important%20for%20preemies)

LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF PREMATURE BIRTH: When a baby is born too early, it is more likely to have health problems. Some problems may not occur right away but treating them as early as possible is important. The highest risk of premature birth is problems with the brain. It can cause delays in physical development, learning, communicating, taking care of themselves, and getting along with others. Longer-term brain conditions are cerebral palsy, behavior problems, mental health conditions, or neurological disorders. Premature birth can also affect the lungs of the baby causing asthma or bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Other health problems can be delayed tooth growth, hearing loss, issues with the intestines, and vision problems like retinopathy.


NEW RESEARCH ON SMOKING WHILE PREGNANT: University of Cambridge researchers recruited more than 4,000 women who were admitted to the hospital as part of a Pregnancy Outcome Prediction (POP) study. A total of 914 women were included in a specific study regarding smoking while pregnant. Of these, 78.6 percent were classified as having no exposure to smoking while pregnant, 11.7 percent as having some exposure, and 9.7 percent as having consistent exposure. Babies born to smokers were found to be on average 10 percent smaller than the weight of an average newborn. This increased risk of low birth weight is linked to an increased risk of developmental problems as well as poor health later in life. Professor Gordon Smith, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Cambridge, said, “We’ve known for a long time that smoking during pregnancy is not good for the baby, but our study shows that it’s potentially much worse than previously thought. It puts the baby at risk of potentially serious complications from growing too slowly in the womb or from being born too soon.”


* For More Information, Contact:             Michelle Brubaker, Director of Media Relations

UC San Diego Health

Telephone: 858-249-0416

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