When Ramya Banda and her husband, Bala Bhimavarapu, MD, a pediatric hospitalist at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis, decided to have a family, she had no idea that she was about to embark on the toughest journey of her life.
That would become clear to her on her 30th birthday when she went to see Ascension Medical Group Via Christi OB/GYN Janey Maki for a 24-week routine scan.
“As I looked at the scan images and saw tiny little arms, the emotions I felt cannot be explained,” she says, initially unaware of the commotion around her as the ultrasound technician asked maternal-fetal medicine specialist Michael Wolfe, MD, to come in for a consult. Realizing that something that was not right, Ramya asked, “What’s wrong with my baby?”
Dr. Wolfe said her baby was doing fine, but that with no measurable cervix left, she could deliver at any time. She was given medications to prevent her from going into labor, beginning what she describes as a “four-month journey of anxiety, depression, panic and bed rest.”
She spent eight weeks as an inpatient in the NewLife Center at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph, getting out of bed only to eat, shower or use the bathroom. She and her care team established short-term goals, first to reach 28 weeks, then 32, at which time she was discharged home on bedrest and began returning to the hospital every Monday for follow up.
“It was during those months of my life we truly felt grateful for life itself and for those little things we otherwise take for granted,” says Ramya. “Above all, I felt grateful for the life that was still beautifully growing and breathing inside me.
“During this journey, I realized an individual's strength is not in perfecting themselves. It is found in the moments, the minutes, the seconds when we are struggling. Some days we fall, crash and cry, some days we rise high and fight it all. Our greatest strength lies in our ability to hope, dream and trust, in even the direst circumstances and firmly believing we can rise above it.”
The couple’s daughter, Diya, was delivered at 38 weeks and five days, leaving Ramya grateful for her doctors, husband Bala, and the other family and friends who stood by her, reminding her of her strength and reassuring her. Today, 15 months later, they are parents to a happy, healthy toddler.
“Strength is not in keeping it all together, it is admitting that life is hard and it may or may not be what we expected it to be,” wrote Ramya in a tribute sent to her care team. “Each one us is born with the innate ability to fight and not quit until the end. We just have to find that determination for the battle. My determination to save my daughter was far stronger and greater than any obstacles.”
It was a battle made easier, she says, thanks to Dr. Maki, Dr. Wolfe and the entire Ascension Via Christi labor and delivery team.
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