Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento ‘Super-Preemie’ Is March of Dimes’ Ambassador
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – March of Dimes’ 2018 March for Babies ambassador is 3½-year-old Christian Nathaniel Rios Ashley, whose life was saved due to the advanced care of the Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento High-Risk Maternity Unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
After trying for several years, Christian’s parents, Christina and Daniel, were thrilled when they got pregnant. But at 22 weeks into her pregnancy, Christina was quickly hospitalized in the Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento High Risk Maternity Unit for incompetent uterus. The doctors told Christina, “We need to get this baby to 24 weeks,” where the odds of survival were much higher.
They came close. Christian was born just a couple days’ shy of 24 weeks and weighed only 1 pound, 4 ounces. The doctors prepared both Daniel and Christina for the worst. However, Christian’s parents didn’t give up and knew the Sutter team would do whatever they could to keep their baby alive and growing.
“He was truly tiny,” recalls his father, Daniel. “As soon as he was born, they whisked him away to start resuscitation and the task of keeping him alive. At that moment, I too got up and hurried down the hall to stay by his side, not knowing if he would make it back to see his mom.”
Christian indeed struggled hard his first 24 hours of life, and his struggle lasted for months. Christian dealt with a host of issues and a few surgeries, and after more than four months in the NICU, Christian was allowed to go home.
Christian, who turns 4 in June, is cognitively on track for his age and making good improvements with fine motor coordination delayed by his early birth. He loves Superheroes, which is fitting for a boy who fought so hard to live.
“He is developmentally and physically perfect,” his mother says. “You would never know to meet him he is a super-preemie.”
The family is very grateful to the staff for the life-saving care they received at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento.
“We still keep in touch with some of the nurses,” Christina says. “They are a big part of our lives and always in our hearts. Having been there so long, they were like family to us. If not for them and their knowledge and compassion, we would not have our boy.”
The March for Babies will be held April 28, beginning at the state Capitol. Sutter Health and Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento are some of the biggest supporters of March of Dimes, and this year’s March for Babies chair is Sutter Medical Center CEO Dave Cheney.
“Our Sutter Medical Center NICU cares for hundreds of premature and other very sick babies every year,” Dave says. “Having the largest NICU in Northern California, our NICU nurses and doctors take our mission of saving and improving the lives of these ill infants very seriously. Of course, we would rather that every baby is born perfectly healthy. And that is why we have partnered for many years with March of Dimes to assist its mission of preventing premature births, birth defects and infant mortality.”
For more information on the March for Babies in Sacramento, and to sign up or donate, go to the website by clicking here.