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Family Recovers from Tragedy to Welcome Baby Girl

Mandy Polatty, a 32-year-old paralegal in Memphis, had a near-textbook pregnancy and delivery with her first daughter, Mary Catherine. But five years later, Mandy’s luck shifted. At 19 weeks in her pregnancy, tests revealed that she had developed an incompetent cervix. Her maternal-fetal medicine specialist performed a transvaginal cerclage, but a week later, Mandy delivered a stillborn baby boy, Andrew, at 20 weeks.

Polatty family The Polatty Family

Recovering from Pregnancy Loss

The following year, Mandy and her husband, Drew, started to research their options on the Internet and learned more about transabdominal cerclage. Specifically, they were encouraged that the transabdominal surgery had better outcomes than the transvaginal procedure. She called surgeons skilled in the procedure, including Arthur Haney, MD, at the University of Chicago Medicine. Immediately, Mandy was reassured by his hopeful attitude and extensive knowledge. "I even taped the conversation with the doctor’s permission so my husband could hear it later," she says.

Mandy decided to have the prepregnancy transabdominal cerclage procedure in Chicago in March 2004. She stayed two nights in the hospital, and then returned to work in 10 days. Two months later, Mandy found out she was pregnant. During her pregnancy, she stayed in touch with Dr. Haney. "I could email Dr. Haney if I had a question or concern when I was pregnant, and he would email me right back. There were times when I wondered how he would find the time to respond to me -- not to mention all the other women he was helping."

In January 2005, Mandy delivered a healthy baby girl, Aubrey, at 37 weeks via C-section.

Aubrey and Mary Catherine Polatty Aubrey and her big sister, Mary Catherine

Don’t Give Up

Life in Memphis is good for the Polatty family. At age 3, Aubrey is a sweet but strong-willed little girl who looks up to big sister, Mary Catherine, 10. "We were overjoyed to have her. So, she is like our little superstar," Mandy says.

When she looks back on the last few years, Mandy can’t believe how fortunate she has been. "A lot of doctors don’t recognize the hurt you feel when you bury a child," Mandy says. "These are healthy babies that women are losing, and some doctors will just tell you to try again. But if something can be done to prevent losing a baby, we want to get the word out,"

Mandy offers this advice to other women who have been in her situation: Don’t give up. "Use the Web to find people like me at who have been in the same situation. Don’t settle for what your local OB/GYN tells you. A lot of them don’t know about the transabdominal cerclage procedure, so you need to do your research."

It was research, after all, that brought the Polatty family to Dr. Haney. "He gave me something very precious," Mandy says. "He is a godsend."

Michele's Transabdominal Cerclage Story

Like Mandy, Michele Arick was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix. After suffering complex pregnancies and losing a son at 21 weeks into a pregnancy, Michele traveled from Iowa to Chicago to have a transabdominal cerclage procedure at the University of Chicago Medicine. » Read Michele's story

March 2008

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