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Just hours into her maternity leave, Marni found herself in the hospital, surrounded by doctors and nurses working hard to combat the effects of pre-eclampsia.

At one point, in the span of an hour, Marni’s liver levels shot up near 600, when they should have been in the 20s and 30s. Marni had developed HELLP Syndrome (which stands for hemolysis—the breakdown of red blood cells, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets).

She was given magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures, but as a result she had double and even triple vision. Her body swelled. Her nurse changed out ice packs on her body all night long to combat hot flashes. She remembers dozens of people rushing into the room when her nurse called for extra help. She was struck by how everyone worked together to ensure she and her baby, Sammy, were safe.

“The care team was incredibly compassionate and confidence-inspiring. Each step of the way, I heard confidence and a plan plus backup options,” Marni says. “Most importantly, information was passed seamlessly through to the many people caring for me.”

Marni and her husband, Adam, had previously lost their first son, Brendan, 20 weeks into the pregnancy. It was a devastating loss, but one that brought them to Yasser El-Sayed, MD, our hospital’s Obstetrician-in-Chief and the Charles B. and Ann L. Johnson Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine.

“We met Dr. El-Sayed the day before we lost our first son,” Marni says. “Through his incredible compassion, expert knowledge, honesty, and ability to provide data or answers to every question we could imagine, we knew we had been blessed to find the most incredible doctor on the planet. We all agreed that when we were emotionally and physically ready, we would embark on a journey together to make our dreams of a living child a reality.”

Marni met with her obstetrics care team up to five times per week during her pregnancy with Sammy. They monitored her vitals meticulously and Dr. El-Sayed performed a procedure called a cervical cerclage—or cervical stitch—to try to prevent premature delivery. Because the team was tracking Marni so closely, they knew immediately when it was time for Sammy’s arrival.

“My incredible care team had been smart enough to monitor my platelet levels at my appointments,” Marni says. “The levels were dropping. My blood pressure was slowly but surely on the rise. The pre-eclampsia we all feared was beginning to set in. Immediately, the team began taking steps to make sure our son would be as strong as possible when he was born.”

“I was very sick, but they expertly guided our family through a smooth delivery. It was Dr. El-Sayed himself who informed me I was ready to push. ‘Are you ready to have a baby?’ my husband asked me. I had never been more ready for anything in my life.”

Sammy was born healthy. Today he is a thriving baby and will be joining us on June 23 for Summer Scamper. Marni, Sammy, and Adam will be walking alongside Dr. El-Sayed and a team representing our hospital’s OB/GYN department.

“It is such an honor to be recognized as a Summer Scamper Patient Hero, but the real heroes are the caretakers at Stanford,” Marni says. “We know that without the care and monitoring we received, our story could have changed drastically.”

She also thinks of you, hospital supporters, when she looks back on her family’s experience. “Preterm birth rates are still on the rise across the country and now more than ever, women need expert care and monitoring. We are forever grateful for the care we received and all of the generous people who support Stanford Hospital.”

 Marni and Sammy are #WhyWeScamper

Register to Scamper and support care, comfort, and cure for more children and expectant moms.