Jessica’s Story: Mom and Twins Survive High-Risk Pregnancy and Premature Birth and are Now Thriving

Jessica Franjul-Pena is grateful for the care she and her twins, Ethan Lorenzo and Katalina, received at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network.

Because Jessica conceived through in vitro fertilization, she was monitored closely from the start of her pregnancy. When she was eighteen weeks pregnant, Jessica was diagnosed with chronic hypertension. She was immediately referred to a maternal medicine specialist at Westchester Medical Center. Ultrasound monitoring also later revealed that one of the twins was not thriving as she should have been, and doctors decided to watch the babies even more closely.  

“I had great doctors,’’ said Jessica. “They were really on top of my case, monitoring me and the babies every step of the way.”

Thirty-three weeks into her pregnancy, Jessica’s doctors discovered her liver enzymes were dangerously high. She had developed superimposed preeclampsia, putting both her and the babies at risk. At that point, her medical team decided it would be safest to induce labor even though the babies would be premature. The twins were born on December 21, 2023 and were sent to the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Ethan spent 11 days in the NICU and Katalina spent 24 days there.  

“The NICU experience was amazing. Everyone was always so kind. It’s such a difficult job but they always remained friendly and helpful. There’s a lot to learn in caring for a preemie. They teach you so much,” Jessica said.

Now, Jessica, Ethan Lorenzo, and Katalina are all doing well.

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