February 15, 2019 by John Fernandez and Tanya Racoobian
A Mother’s Miracle
This Mother’s Day, mothers from all over will celebrate the miracle of parenthood. For Qynata Henry-Nairn, 34, mother to 2-month old Olivia Nairn, the day has extra special meaning. After a miscarriage and giving birth very prematurely, at 23 1/2 weeks, to her 5-year-old son, Juel, Ms. Henry carried Olivia to term – something she never thought possible.
Ms. Henry has an “incompetent cervix” – a weakness that causes it to open too early in pregnancy. In Ms. Henry’s case, the condition led to the miscarriage and her son’s premature birth. Luckily, for her third pregnancy, her doctors referred her to robotic gynecologic surgeon Ricardo Estape, M.D., of Baptist Health’s Center for Robotic Surgery. When she was 15 weeks pregnant, he stitched the cervix shut with a delicate procedure called an abdominal cerclage.
Traditionally, the incompetent cervix is repaired with a vaginal cerclage, in which the surgeon reaches the cervix through the vagina and stitches it closed. For Ms. Henry, this traditional procedure failed during her pregnancy with Juel.
“After the miscarriage, we thought we had a solution, but it didn’t work,” she said. “Juel is a blessing. He is developing so well, but the experience was traumatic. He was in the South Miami Hospital NICU for 4 1/2 months.” When she became pregnant again, she was worried and scared.
Using an ultrasound for guidance, Dr. Estape maneuvered surgical instruments attached to robotic arms through small incisions in Ms. Henry’s abdomen. This robotic approach allowed Dr. Estape to close the cervix from the top.
“For most women, the vaginal cerclage does the trick,” he said. “But for those patients where it doesn’t work, this procedure provides a stronger hold on the cervix.”
Ms. Henry is thankful to Dr. Estape and for the miracle of Olivia. “I am so proud,” she said. “This is such a wonderful time, and to have my daughter healthy, I am so grateful.”