Fort Sanders Perinatal Center sees patients through devastating loss and incredible joy
There’s nothing particularly special about the way Michelle Irons and her family spend their time together.
“We cheer on the Vols, we love pizza and we often visit the zoo,” says the Clinton mom. “We’re blessed and thankful.”
What’s special to Irons is simply that they are together, no matter what they’re doing or where they may be. She carries with her the knowledge that one child is absent, which causes her to hold the others more closely to her heart.
Irons’ first visit to Fort Sanders Perinatal Center came when she was pregnant with twins in 2018. Her doctor had referred the mother-to-be after some unsettling symptoms began. The physicians at the center are specially trained to diagnose and fully understand complications in pregnancy. They take their time with each patient, making sure the care is complete and the mother is well-informed.
Irons’ twins were diagnosed with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), a risk specifically associated with identical twins because they share one placenta. In TTTS, one twin takes the majority of blood, fluid and nutrients, leaving the other weak and struggling to survive.
At 26 weeks and six days into her pregnancy, Irons had a mass rupture and went into labor. Both twins would be delivered. Only one would be delivered alive.
Care in a Crisis
As Irons was in labor at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, a new complication was discovered. The surviving twin’s umbilical cord prolapsed. An emergency C-section was ordered.
“Their fast thinking and action is why we hold our daughter today, and we are so grateful,” Michelle says.
Miley River Irons was born Oct. 4, 2018 and weighed 1 pound, 12 ounces. Irons and her husband Drew also gave a name to their second daughter before letting her go. She is remembered as Eleanor Kay Irons.
“The team at Fort Sanders Perinatal Center and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center were with us every step of the way on that day when our lives stopped,” Irons says. “Tears were shed with us, prayers said over us and the gentleness so generously given will never be forgotten.”
A New Blessing
Irons chose to continue seeing the physicians at Fort Sanders Perinatal Center when she found out she was pregnant last year.
“When our pregnancy got near 26 weeks, where we had endured so much in our first pregnancy, I especially appreciated the kindness and compassion that was shown, as this was a difficult stretch mentally,” Michelle says.
Price Wilder Irons, a healthy baby boy, was born Oct. 19, 2021. His parents rejoiced, and their family at Fort Sanders Perinatal Center and Fort Sanders Regional family rejoiced right alongside them.
The new baby was named after a New Testament Bible verse that says in part, “You were bought with a price.” Irons wants it to serve as a tribute to family and faith.
“Our lives are so precious and hold purpose,” she says, “and no matter how short or long, a price was paid and we are thankful!”
Reflecting on the birth of two children and the death of another, Irons has mixed emotions that are sometimes difficult to process. She wants to let other women with high risk pregnancies to know that comprehensive and compassionate care is available at Fort Sanders Perinatal Center.
“We’ve seen some of the darkest days a parent can have, and we’ve walked hand-in-hand while having faith,” Irons says. “I know that God purposely placed this medical team in our story for a reason.”