Doctors at Valley Children's Hospital working to help woman with high risk pregnancies

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Valley Children's Maternal Fetal Center has treated more than 27,000 women with high risk pregnancies. (KFSN)

The toys at Valley Children's Hospital's playroom are hard to resist. Siblings Sharlyn and Rivaldo share the barnyard animals and superheroes. You would not know it, but they share something else, their start in life was a rough one.

"It was a hard time; I didn't know what to do. It was my first baby, I was young," said Darsy Caballero, mother.

Darsy went from celebrating her pregnancy to learning her fetus had a defect, a condition known as gastroschisis.

Pediatric Surgery Medical Director Dr. Michael Allshouse said, "Through this defect which occurs very early in the first trimester of intra-uterine life, the intestines, which have grown too fast and too long to stay within the confines of the abdominal cavity, then herniate out to this weak spot and are floating around with the baby's amniotic fluid."

Valley Children's Maternal Fetal Center has treated more than 27,000 women with high risk pregnancies, Darsy was closely monitored.

"My first baby, you don't want to hear the words there's something wrong with it-- and especially, and especially gastroschisis. It's something you're not even familiar with."

Just a few hours after her birth, little Sharlyn underwent surgery. Incredibly, her intestines were placed back inside her tiny belly.

"Once the intestines are reduced back inside the baby looks almost totally normal, and we have this relatively new technique of using the umbilical cord to close the defect which leaves them with a normal looking belly button so there's really no scar," said Dr. Allshouse.

After a month in the NICU, Sharlyn went home, healthy and thriving and a few years later, Darsy was thrilled to learn she was expecting a boy.

"So when I got pregnant with Rivaldo I'm like, okay, pregnancy, normal pregnancy, finally. I'm going to be able to enjoy, I'm going to be able to bring myself home-- well that didn't happen."

Doctors said it is very rare to have a second child with gastroschisis, but mom knew little Rivaldo was in good hands.

Sharlyn and Rivaldo get checkups every year at the pediatric surgery department. They will likely need surgery later on for hernias but are otherwise happy and healthy.

"I think of children who have special conditions or special needs as a flower that somebody planted, but the flower that comes up is different than the one that you expected and sometimes that's a shock to the family," said Dr. Allshouse. "If we take babies like this, those little flowers, and give them the best water and the best food and the best care they turn out to be the best flower they can be and that's kind of what this is all about."
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