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Sarah's Journey

July 17, 2023 8:21 pm

Serendipity can be a powerful thing. 

When Sarah Hanaway's insurance changed and she needed a new OB/GYN, she decided to call Women's Care of Wisconsin in the hope that they had a provider who was accepting new patients.

Sarah Hanaway, meet Dr. Adriana Schaufelberger.

Hanaway was being introduced to her new provider just as she and her husband were trying to get pregnant for the first time; they were instructed to try for three months.

Which is exactly what they did, but they weren't getting pregnant.

"At my first visit with Dr. Schaufelberger, I told her I didn't know how moms that try for years handle it, because we were already feeling kind of disappointed," said Hanaway. "And so that day when I got there, she had everything ready for what kind of fertility things we could do, she had already checked into my insurance and everything. She was prepared for me and knew me as a patient before I even knew her."

Hanaway acknowledged her fears that a long and difficult road to getting pregnant was just beginning for them, and then made another admission: because she had been let down a couple of times, she hadn't taken a pregnancy test for a while. She took one then and there and was given the news.

"You are the least pregnant a person can be," said Schaufelberger.

Hanaway was excited and scared, but she said Schaufelberger countered that by being informative and reassuring. Throughout the first pregnancy Hanaway, like most new moms, had a plethora of questions.

"I could get ahold of her at any time, and asking her questions was so easy," said Hanaway. "And that first pregnancy went great, and we delivered Rory."

The second pregnancy was more challenging, as the baby wasn't moving at 37 weeks. It's uncertain whether it was related to her preeclampsia or had some connection to her bout with COVID, but Hanaway developed blood clots that fortunately did not get to the baby. Schaufelberger induced labor and delivered baby Rosella early.

"That might have been the world's fastest delivery ever," said Hanaway. "Schaufelberger told me she was going to go home and eat dinner, come back, and I was going to have a baby. She didn't get the chance to eat. Labor was 30 minutes, tops."

Complications followed after Ella's birth, as Hanaway dealt with postpartum preeclampsia, which presents briefly at the end of pregnancy and can cause early delivery. The condition lingered, and instead of being able to focus on recovering after childbirth and caring for her newborn, Hanaway spent a considerable time just being very sick. This resulted in the most difficult circumstance of the pregnancy.

"I had to leave Ella at home and go back to the hospital," Hanaway said. "That caused a lot of hard emotions that Schaufelberger acknowledged and kept in mind when we were pregnant with number three."

And with their third, the complications continued.

"Anything that can happen when you're 37 years old and pregnant was happening to me," Hanaway said.

Preeclampsia affected Hanaway's pregnancy again, and to complicate matters further she developed cholestasis, a condition that lowers liver function that can cause complications for mother and baby. At her twenty-week appointment, Schaufelberger told her to come in for testing every two to three weeks. 

One day Hanaway called and said she didn't feel the baby moving. Tests became weekly.

"She saw this was making me anxious," said Hanaway. "She cares a lot about the patient and the baby, and she just let me know she was going to do everything in her power to make sure we were being taken care of."

The delivery of her third child, Rynn, was not a speedy affair like the second. Hanaway assumed it was just a really large baby, but it turned out the baby was flipped and "turning all over the place." Despite the acute sickness she felt during delivery, Hanaway recognized something that was a constant with Schaufelberger.

"She keeps the delivery room lively and treats the entire family, not just the mom. She makes sure she knows everybody," said Hanaway.

Certainly that includes Hanaway's husband, an inquisitive person who spent most of Rory's delivery barraging Schaufelberger-in the midst of all the action-with a seemingly unending set of questions. For Ella's delivery, Schaufelberger pointed at mom's head and said to dad, "You stay up there. I've got the area down here covered."

Now with three children four and under as well as a new puppy ("potty trained but not yet behavior trained"), the Hanaway house is an active and joyful place. Asked to pause for a moment and reflect on Dr. Schaufelberger, mom and dad were in alignment.

"We both agreed that we had such an amazing experience with her and she made us feel comfortable every step of the way in all three pregnancies. What sets her apart from other doctors is that she doesn't just get to know you as a patient; she knows you as a person and she knows and cares about you and your entire growing family."

After three pregnancies with their fair share of complications (by the way, Hanaway had gestational diabetes with each), she ends by highlighting a Schaufelberger quote that resonates with her, deeply.

"Dr. Schaufelberger always says 'I trust a mother's instinct.' That's so reassuring to hear, to know that she trusts you to know when your body isn't feeling right."

So a chance appointment with "any available provider" becomes a bond of strength, a relationship based on confidence and trust.

Serendipity indeed.









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