When the Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial opened in 1988, more than 12,000 Orange County residents toured the new facility. With a state-of-the-art Family Birth Center and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the beautifully designed hospital provided a full spectrum of healthcare services for women from adolescence through their later years.
Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the facility remains the only women’s hospital in south Orange County and the birthplace of more than 40,000 babies. At the same time, thousands of women have benefited from other services provided by Saddleback Memorial, ranging from bone density screenings and specialized treatment for urinary incontinence to comprehensive care for gynecologic cancer, uterine fibroids and varicose veins. “The hospital is sensitive to the concerns of women and fully committed to providing the highest level of care for female patients,” says LaDonna Butler, RN, chief operating officer at Saddleback Memorial.
No one knows about the quality of care at the Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial better than Nanci Masada-Okawa and her husband David. In 2002, Nanci was 37 years old and pregnant for the first time. An ultrasound at the end of her second month revealed that she was carrying triplets, automatically classifying her pregnancy as high risk. “My obstetrician immediately referred me to the Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial,” says Nanci. With one of the few high-risk pregnancy programs in the area, the facility offers a fetal diagnostic center, gestational diabetes program, in utero therapy, genetic counseling, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and a highly skilled team of perinatologists and neonatologists.
“Prematurity is an overriding concern in pregnancies involving multiple births,” says Nanci’s physician David Lagrew, M.D., a Women’s Hospital perinatologist. “Preterm newborns are more likely to face serious health problems. Multiple births also put the mother at risk for preeclampsia and other complications.”
In an effort to avoid problems, Dr. Lagrew monitored Nanci closely. As she approached her 23rd week, the Huntington Beach resident experienced contractions. Treated with medications to prevent preterm labor, she was put on bed rest and given a home uterine monitoring system. For the next few weeks, her condition stabilized. But when she reached her 31st week of pregnancy, Nanci developed a potentially deadly complication called preeclampsia. She was admitted to the Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Memorial and treated with steroids to hasten the development of the triplet’s lungs. With the help of her doctors, she managed to stave off labor until her 35th week of pregnancy—just five weeks short of a full-term pregnancy.
Kaitlin, Brad and Ryan were born on December 12, 2002, with weights ranging from 4 pounds, 2 ounces to 5 pounds, 4 ounces.
Today the triplets are 5 years old and healthy. “The care I received at Saddleback Memorial was awesome,” says Nanci, who serves as president of the Saddleback Memorial Baby Alumni Club and teaches a segment of the hospital’s Marvelous Multiples class with her husband.