Saving Sophia’s Baby: A doctor’s honesty builds trust

When Sophia Covarrubias was referred to the Center for Maternal and Fetal Care at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, she didn’t know what to expect. It is here where she met Dr. Emma Rodriguez, the physician who would be brutally honest with her about her pregnancy which in the end would save her baby’s life.

 “This doctor explained things in very black and white terms, and I wasn’t sure how to take it,” said Sophia.

But after giving the news more thought, she decided Dr. Rodriguez’s honest assessment may not have been what she wanted to hear, but it was exactly what she needed.

A couple of years earlier, Sophia had a scary pregnancy, one in which she lost her baby. Not wanting to relive that traumatic experience with another pregnancy and knowing she was high risk, she continued to see Dr. Rodriguez.  She decided she liked how thorough Dr.  Rodriguez was and how she based her assessments on Sophia’s history and not necessarily her current condition.

Emma Rodriguez, MD, cares for women experiencing high-risk pregnancies. She is part of the team at the Center for Maternal and Fetal Care at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

With her first pregnancy, she was young and knew deep down something was wrong with her baby, but her doctor wouldn’t listen to her. This taught her the importance of speaking up and getting to a doctor who could help her which is what she did this time around. When her regular obstetrician suggested she was high-risk with her second pregnancy, she immediately called The Center for Maternal and Fetal Care at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio to consult with a high-risk maternal fetal medicine specialist who deals with pregnancy complications on a daily basis.

“I felt safe with Dr. Rodriguez,” said Sophia. “She made me feel like she cared about me not only as her patient, but as a person. There was just something about her that made me feel special.”

When Sophia was 22 weeks pregnant, she developed a shortened cervix, which concerned Dr. Rodriguez. She told Sophia about cerclage surgery, which is a procedure designed to strengthen the cervix with a surgical stitch to reduce the risk of miscarriage or pre-term birth.

Dr. Rodriguez told Sophia the procedure would involve some risk and that she could not guarantee it would work, but the doctor said it was the best option to bring Sophia closer to her due date. Dr. Rodriguez instructed Sophia to follow up with her in three days.

The next day while Sophia was driving to work, Dr. Rodriguez called her and told she was so worried that she didn’t sleep the night before. She was concerned about Sophia and strongly recommended that she have the cerclage procedure as soon as possible.

“I was blown away that Dr. Rodriguez would take time to call me,” said Sophia.  “The next thing you know, I was asking for time off at work and calling my fiancé and telling him to pack a bag.”

That same day, Sophia had the surgery.

After a week of bed rest, Sophia was back at work and continuing her usual activities. At 36 weeks, she returned to the hospital to have the cerclage removed. The medical team believed Sophia would give birth right then because her cervix was so weak.

But she ended up making it a little more than 38 weeks before giving birth.

On a Sunday evening in early January, Sophia and her fiancé headed to CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital. Although her water hadn’t broken yet, the medical team knew it was just a matter of time before the baby would arrive.

After a few uneventful hours of labor on January 4, 2021, Anahi was born weighing six pounds, 11 ounces. She was the perfect picture of health and required no time in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“The whole experience was so awesome,” said Sophia. “Everything went so smoothly, and I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief.”

At her nearest opportunity, Dr. Rodriguez was the first person Sophia called after Anahi was born. She remembers how happy Dr. Rodriguez was that there were no issues.

“Dr. Rodriguez’s phone call that day and her persistence that I have surgery right away saved my baby’s life,” said Sophia.  “While I knew she had other patients to see, Dr. Rodriguez always made me feel like I was her only one and the center of her attention.”

Sophia said she will definitely go to Dr. Rodriguez for any future pregnancies because of the way Dr. Rodriguez made her feel and the trust Sophia had in her.

Today Sophia and Anahi are doing well, and Sophia is immensely grateful to Dr. Rodriguez for everything she did for both her and her daughter.   

“Dr. Rodriguez is truly amazing and has given me a lot of hope,” said Sophia. “I truly thank her for everything.”

If you are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy, talk to your obstetrician about a referral to our experienced team at the Center for Maternal and Fetal Care at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

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