Patient Stories

Miracle baby born 115 days early

On February 4, Melina awoke suddenly with an intense pain her abdomen. She was just 24 weeks pregnant, and the sudden pain made her concerned that something was wrong with her baby. She and her husband Jefferson Reyes quickly drove to the Birthplace at North Shore Medical Center, where she had an emergency Caesarean section (C-section). Her labor was quick, but the journey to improve the health of her premature baby would be a bit longer.

“I was very scared when I got to the Birthplace.” Melina Reyes-Mendoza said. “But the staff were very supportive and always kept me informed of what was happening.” Candi Reyes was born about two hours later, and immediately required additional care and support.

Neonatologist Ihor Bilyk, M.D., quickly brought Candi to the Special Care Nursery (SCN) to stabilize her. Shortly after, Candi and Melina were transferred to the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for additional care.

“Our Special Care Nursery has a very close relationship with the NICU at Massachusetts General Hospital. Our young patients are cared for by the top specialists in our field at both nurseries and they receive world-class care,” said NSMC Chief of Neonatal Medicine and Medical Director of Newborn Medicine, Katheryn Nathe, M.D.

When Candi arrived at MGH she weighed one and a half pounds and required ventilator assistance to breath. She also received treatment to improve her blood pressure. Melina commuted to Boston every day for three months to be with her daughter and watch her health improve.

Once Candi grew stronger and was able to breath independently, she was transferred back to the Special Care Nursery on the Salem Hospital campus to continue her care. Melina, a Salem resident, was happy to have her daughter close to home, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When arriving to NSMC Salem Hospital to visit her baby, Melina was relieved to see the many policies in place to keep patients, visitors and staff safe during COVID-19. This included masks, screenings and hand sanitizer for all visitors. She felt reassured her that her baby was truly in good and safe hands.

While in the SCN, Melina and the care team focused on developing Candi’s ability to breath and feed independently. Soon after arriving, Candi was able to do both and with each improvement, she moved closer to being able to go home.

After four weeks of being in the SCN and weighing in at eight and a half pounds, Candi was released. “I just started crying as soon as they told me,” Melina said. “I was so grateful to be taking my miracle home.”

Melina shares that Candi is growing stronger every day. She is always smiling, spending her days listening to nursery rhymes and is always ready for ‘tubby time.’ “She’s doing wonderfully well,” Melina said. “The nursery and Birthplace took incredible care of both of us. I’m so grateful for them.”