Schumacher in their own words

In Their Words

Shelby Schumacher
Dubuque, Iowa

"My water broke 15 weeks early when I was pregnant with Leah and her twin brother, Brody, in March of 2007. (Brody passed away from liver cancer in January of 2010.). I was taken by ambulance from Dubuque to University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. The twins were born two days later and were immediately admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Leah was so tiny, weighing only 1 pound 11 ounces. Leah spent 4 months and 3 days in the NICU before coming home. Leah needed the assistance of oxygen for nearly a year after coming home. Once discharged from the NICU, she continued follow-up care through the High Risk Infant Follow-Up Program and Dr. Glenda Rabe from Neonatology. She was also monitored by Dr. Riad Rahhal in GI, and Dr. Joel Shilyansky in Pediatric Surgery.

In September of 2007, she returned to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital to have surgery to repair hernias and remove ovarian cysts. The doctors determined that her cysts had shrunk since the last scan. While performing the surgery to repair the hernias and do the cyst removal, it was decided to not remove the cysts, as they did not look suspicious, and the surgeon did not want to risk damage to her ovary at the age of six months. The recommendation was to continue to do ultrasounds at the children's hospital every six months, where they could closely monitor for changes.

The cysts continued to shrink, and, after 7 years of monitoring, they had Leah see Dr. Katie Larson Ode in Pediatric Endocrinology to be sure that there were no other side effects from the cysts (which were nearly non-existent and no longer referred to as cysts, but as "enlarged follicles"). After a wonderful visit, Leah was given a clean bill of health from Dr. Larson Ode and discharged from care at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital in August of 2014 at the age of seven. Today, she is a happy and healthy 9-year-old. She does not appear to have any long-lasting effects from her prematurity, and we like to believe that she is a walking miracle.

People might think that you are "just a number" when you come to such a large hospital. However, when you spend so much time there, the staff makes it feel like they are all a part of your family. The loving care given to our family will never be forgotten. We just want to say "thank you" to all of the amazing health care providers at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.”

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