MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -- A unique program at USA Children's & Women's Hospital getting national recognition for how it's helping families navigate high risk pregnancies.

Dana and Michael Ramer from Monroeville are just one family the program has helped. The Ramer's have three children under the age of five.

Anna Michael -- 5 years old, Rigdon, 3 years old, and Andi -- 20-months old.

The family are superstars at USA Children's & Women's Hospital.

Anna-Michael's was a normal birth with no problems. It was a dramatic difference from the couple's second pregnancy -- twins (Rigdon & Ami Marie) born at 24 weeks.

"Ami passed away at 6 days old," said Dana.

Rigdon would spend more than 4 months in the NICU before going home.

When they found out they were pregnant with Andi (their surprise baby as they like to call her) -- Dana insisted on seeing a specialist.

"Everything looked great on the ultrasound and they said this is a single birth and the complications were with the twins -- you'll e fine. I know it was God speaking inside of my heart... Saying Dana you've got a fight to see the high-risk doctor. You've gotta push for that. There's something i just call it the mom gut... Like your mom gut just knows," recalled Dana.

All was fine up until 21 weeks -- then came complications with Dana needing emergency surgery.

"I just remember crying and a nurse giving me a hug," said Dana. 

In stepped the hospital's Bridge Program -- provides women experiencing high-risk pregnancies vital information before, during, and after delivery to better care for their newborns. Coordinator Rene Sprague, RN, MSN, with USA Health, is also the mother of a preemie baby with special needs.

"I'm able to completely understand as much as I possibly can what they are going through, what they are going to go through -- and just slowly try to prepare the for the life that is coming, especially when they are pre-term," said Sprague.

Helping them navigate the ups and downs of high-risk pregnancy --The Bridge Program was there for the Ramers as they found themselves going down an all too familiar road.

"You had an advocate in your corner -- you know that could pick up the phone and they would do whatever they could to help," said Michael. They educate you and do a good job of educating on what they call the rollercoaster ride of the NICU. It is full of ups and downs and highs and lows. And it can change by the minute it seems like at times."

In two years -- the program has helped over 400 families (more than 300 families in 2019) make those difficult decisions.

"As long as they are educated decisions... I feel like we have done our job. Like we have done right by the family and by this child," said Sprague.

The hospital also has a designated suite for the mothers to stay, which includes extended stays for coordinated care.

"We had the surgery and I stayed here for a week and then we thought we are going into labor at 30 weeks and I spent 10 days here but she held off with the medicine and everything the doctors did. We got her here full term," said Dana.

Thanks to the Bridge Program -- Andi is now a healthy 20-month old. Life for this family of five is very busy -- but the Ramers say they wouldn't have it any other way.

The ultimate goal is to eventually expand the program to the adult side at University Hospital.

All content © 2019, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.  

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