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Children's Mercy celebrates 500th delivery at Elizabeth J. Ferrell Fetal Health Center

It's a boy! Children's Mercy is proud to announce the 500th birth at its Elizabeth J. Ferrell Fetal Health Center. The Center provides on-site delivery services for families of high-risk infants, giving them immediate access to the region's only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit and keeping the family closer together. 

"I realized early in my career, that bringing one new life into the world is the most profound thing you can do. So delivering 500 new babies at the Fetal Health Center is a pretty amazing milestone," said Timothy L. Bennett, MD, Medical Director of Fetal Health Services at Children's Mercy.

Baby Warren was born on Sept. 28 at 5:35 p.m. He weighed 5 lbs., 8 oz. and was 18 inches long. His family lives in Knob Noster, Mo., where Warren's dad is stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base. 

"His full name is Warren Emil Schumacher," said Mom Mariah Schumacher. "Emil is short for Emilio and that was Tom's best friend who was killed overseas in Iraq."

Eighteen weeks into her pregnancy, Mariah had a blood screening that indicated something was wrong with her baby. An ultrasound confirmed her baby boy had gastroschisis, whereby the intestines were outside the body because of a defect in the abdominal wall. The Schumachers learned Warren would need at least one surgery after birth to fit his intestines back inside. In about 15 percent of infants with gastroschisis, there is not enough room in the belly right away. In these cases, like Warren's, the surgeon puts the intestines in a "bag" attached to the baby's belly and gently squeezes them back inside over the course of several days. This allows the belly to stretch and prevents damage to other organs. 

"While uncommon for babies to be born at a children's hospital, it's impossible to overstate the benefits for families giving birth to very high-risk infants," Dr. Bennett said. "The Elizabeth J. Ferrell Fetal Health Center assures these families that when every second counts, their newborn immediately receives the specialized care that a comprehensive children's hospital provides."

Mariah gave birth in a Fetal Health Center delivery room, designed with a connecting stabilization room so that Warren's condition could be assessed right away. In that room, the team monitored his breathing, administered an IV and prepped him for surgery. 

"I can't even imagine not having that room that's connected. It was just so awesome getting to see him right away instead of getting him whisked off to a different part of the hospital or even a different hospital altogether," Mariah said. "That was really special."

In surgery, it was discovered Warren did not have enough room for his intestines at that time, so the team moved to the "bag" approach. They closed Warren's abdomen on Oct. 3. Baby Warren should be able to go home in a few weeks. 

In 2010, Elizabeth J. and James E. Ferrell gave a generous gift that helped create the Fetal Health Center at Children's Mercy. With the Center's opening, Children's Mercy became one of only a few children's hospitals in the country to offer comprehensive care, including on-site delivery, for babies with fetal anomalies. Today, the Center provides some of the most specialized care in the country for high-risk babies before, during and after delivery.

About Children's Mercy
Children's Mercy, located in Kansas City, Mo., is one of the nation's top pediatric medical centers. The 354-bed, not-for-profit hospital provides care for children from birth through the age of 21, and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of "America's Best Children's Hospitals." For the third time in a row, Children's Mercy has achieved Magnet nursing designation, awarded to fewer than seven percent of all hospitals nationally, for excellence in quality care. Its faculty of more than 700 pediatric subspecialists and researchers across more than 40 subspecialties are actively involved in clinical care, pediatric research, and educating the next generation of pediatric subspecialists. For more than a century, Children's Mercy has provided the highest level of medical care to every child who passes through its doors, made possible through generous community support.