Tammy with CAFC sonographer supervisor Kim Monagle.
After two pregnancies delivered through Cesarean Section, Tammy Blockinger was nervous about how her third pregnancy would progress, especially since she was coping with the added diagnosis of high blood pressure. She became a patient at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Center for Advanced Fetal Care where she successfully delivered her third child through a vaginal birth. She appreciated the care she received at UMMC so much that she returned throughout the years to deliver her fourth, fifth and sixth babies as well. Read her story below.
My name is Tammy Blockinger. I have six children, ages two to twenty-one. My first two children were born by Cesarean Section as a result of complications I experienced during my pregnancy. My first baby was a breech birth with toxemia poisoning. My second was a 30-week placental abruption. Everyone, including me, was nervous about how my third pregnancy would progress. I decided to see an obstetrician at the University of Maryland Medical Center because I remembered the great care that my mom received there during her high-risk pregnancy.
During my first visit with the obstetrician, I was told that it would be possible for me to have a vaginal birth instead of undergoing another Cesarean Section. I couldn’t believe it. I knew I had come to the right place.
Because of complications related to my high blood pressure, I became a high-risk obstetrics patient at the UMMC Center for Advanced Fetal Care (CAFC). At 39 weeks, I experienced my first successful vaginal birth after Cesarean. At that time, Dr. Hugh Mighty was responsible for my care. He oversaw my visits to labor and delivery for monitoring. Thanks to him and the OB staff, everything went as planned for my pregnancy.
Tammy with OB resident Dr. Karina Hew.
Nine years later, I decided to have another baby. At that time, I was almost 35 years old and was again experiencing problems related to my high blood pressure. I returned to the Center for Advanced Fetal Care for obstetric care. My pregnancy required many visits to the Labor and Delivery Unit as well as the Center for Advanced Fetal Care, and the staff at both locations became fond of my family. We also felt connected to the staff and knew that each visit would go well. At 39 weeks, I experienced my second successful vaginal birth after Cesarean.
In 2003, I was pregnant with baby number five! However, this pregnancy did not go quite as smoothly as my previous two. I had an excessive amount of amniotic fluid and was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I returned to the Center for Advanced Fetal Care and was happy to see that the staff were elated I was back. I was relieved to find out that I was still a candidate for a vaginal birth. At 36 weeks, however, the amount of amniotic fluid increased, causing strong contractions during my sonogram. I immediately knew that something was wrong, and it was at this time that I met Dr. Ahmet Baschat. He told me that with my condition, the baby could potentially run into some serious problems. I had to be closely monitored by the doctors. Three weeks later, I was admitted to Labor and Delivery for the birth. Thanks to the expertise of Dr. Jerome Kopelman, I was allowed to deliver without any inducing medications or pain relief. My third baby was born completely healthy.
After becoming pregnant once again in 2007, I decided to become a patient of Dr. Michelle Kush. I had seen her occasionally during my previous visits to UMMC, so I decided she would be my primary obstetrician. I knew I was in great hands.
This pregnancy was also complicated. I was 39 years old and had been diagnosed with high blood pressure, hypothyroidism and gestational diabetes. The staff at the Center for Advanced Fetal Care watched over me and my pregnancy once again. Kim, the sonographer, even let my three-year-old deliver the news that we were having a boy. In January 2008, Dr. Lindsay Alger delivered my sixth child; he was my fourth vaginal birth after Cesarean with no complications.
Tammy and the CAFCA nurses at the 2009 CAFC gala. From left to right: Tammy, Kim Monagle, Debbie Kirby, Nicole Pedersen, Nina Vaughn and Kim Greve.
After four pregnancies, I know a lot of the doctors in Labor and Delivery; some are still there, while others have left, but the impact these doctors had on me and my family remains to this day. They allowed me to participate in my care, make decisions and have conversations that made me feel like I was important. UMMC doctors enjoy when a patient takes an active role in her care.
I am able to share my four wonderful success stories thanks to the great care and staff of Labor and Delivery, Women’s Health and the Center for Advanced Fetal Care. I would highly recommend all of these offices to anyone who is planning to have children, especially those with health issues that would make them the perfect candidate for their services.
My thanks goes to Drs. Michelle Kush, Lindsay Alger, Jerome Kopleman, Ahmet Bashat and many more, as well as the Labor and Delivery staff, especially those at the Center for Advanced Fetal Care, for treating my family like old friends and watching over us. UMMC is the best choice for care and women’s health.