Jackson Health System Nov 18,2012
Five years ago, Andrea and Anthony Temperino were devastated to hear they had a “zero percent chance” of having babies of their own. They’d always dreamed of having a big family, so they wouldn’t take no for an answer. The determined couple sought help from an infertility doctor in Broward County whose specialty was in vitro fertilization (IVF). They then made a complete lifestyle change, which included eating only organic foods.
It paid off when they became the parents of a son. They returned to the doctor last year to continue to grow their family, and in June they learned that Andrea was pregnant again – this time with triplets.
Just weeks after receiving this great news, Andrea began feeling ill. She had trouble swallowing and breathing, was unable to lay flat and felt an odd sensation around her lips. She spent 10 days in intensive care at a community hospital in Broward without a diagnosis before coming to the emergency room at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Within hours, doctors at Jackson determined Andrea was suffering from a rare autoimmune disorder: myasthenia gravis with antibodies to muscle-specific tyrosine kinase (MuSK). This condition weakens the muscles and affects swallowing, speech and breathing. Doctors believe she is the first woman pregnant with triplets to be diagnosed with this condition in the United States.
Andrea was in extremely critical condition so was admitted to the neurocritical care unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she spent eight days on a ventilator. At one point, she was so ill that she nearly died. But a team of University of Miami/Jackson neurologists treated her and placed her on the appropriate medications. Upon discharge, she was closely followed by the neurology team and OB/GYN physicians.
After Andrea Is Stabilized, the Triplets Are in Jeopardy
On November 1, when Andrea was 30 weeks pregnant, she complained of abdominal pain. As a precaution, she came to Jackson for a check-up with her obstetrician. She was experiencing a placental abruption, a rare, life-threatening pregnancy complication in which the placenta separates from its attachment to the wall of the uterus. Andrea’s life was in jeopardy, as were the lives of her three babies.
Doctors immediately performed an emergency Cesarean section. All three baby boys – Ashton, Alexander and Austyn – were born within one minute, weighing about three pounds each. A team of Holtz Children’s Hospital and UM neonatologists was standing by in the operating room to immediately care for the babies.
The most critical, Ashton, inhaled and ingested blood that collected in his amniotic sac because of the placental abruption. After birth, he required mechanical ventilation and nitric oxide. The other two babies were stable. All were admitted to The Schatzi and Stanley Kassal Project: New Born Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Holtz. Now, almost seven months later, all three boys are home and doing well. Ashton has improved so much, he looks bigger than his brothers.
“We had all the odds stacked against us,” said Anthony Temperino, a commercial pilot. “But Jackson saved the lives of my wife and babies not once – but twice. Now, we’d never go anywhere else.
The Multiple Miracles Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to helping those fighting autoimmune diseases. We provide financial assistance, advocacy and information. Based in South Florida we serve families and individuals living in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties.
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