For Tierany Narro, there’s nothing quite like celebrating motherhood for the first time. Two months ago, she welcomed her beautiful daughter, Paityn, into the world. From the moment their eyes met, Tierany fell in love with her instantly. Just as she imagined, their mother-daughter bond grew stronger than ever.
“My first day as a mother was everything I could have wanted and more,” said Tierany. “My fiancé, Byron, and I celebrated this special milestone as we bonded with our new baby. To be able to care for another life other than my own, and to love this cute little human that we created together, is such an amazing and indescribable feeling. Our daughter is the most precious gift that we could have ever asked for.”
For the longest time, Tierany wasn’t sure if she could have a baby. When she was 11 years old, she was diagnosed with Long QT syndrome (LQTS), a rare heart rhythm disorder. Her heart’s electrical system took longer to recharge causing her to have rapid and chaotic heartbeats. Even the slightest physical activity or emotional excitement could trigger an episode. LQTS causes fainting and seizures, and if left untreated, it can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Tierany didn’t know she had it until her first episode.
“I was racing my brother and cousin on the trail,” recalled Tierany. “The only thing that I remember was I could only breathe in. I could not breathe out. I was rushed to the hospital and when doctors did an EKG on me, I found out that I had LQTS. It was a crazy experience. As a kid, you want to ride rollercoasters, get spooked at haunted houses, play sports and I wasn’t allowed to do any of those things. The only sport I was allowed to play was golf. I had to avoid anything that raised my blood pressure and heart rate. I was put on beta blockers to slow my heart rate down which I still take today. When I found out I was pregnant, my doctors treated my pregnancy as if it was high risk due to my heart issue. They were concerned how my heart would handle the delivery.”
Throughout her pregnancy, Tierany began seeing OB-GYN Dr. George Cajas, who referred her to Dr. James Hill, a high-risk maternal-fetal medicine specialist at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. She saw Dr. Hill once a month for the first trimester. Then, halfway through her second trimester, she had weekly visits with Dr. Hill since she resumed taking her medication for LQTS. Since beta blockers can impact the growth of the baby, Dr. Hill checked Paityn’s growth curve every three weeks. Paityn was growing at a normal pace, but her growth lagged during the third trimester. Her growth would be a few days behind and then a week behind – but it was only in certain parts of her body. Her little belly was measuring the furthest behind. Paityn was doing fine. She was just on her own little growth curve.
“My excitement grew as I neared the end of my pregnancy,” said Tierany. “During my last trimester, Dr. Hill performed nonstress tests on my daughter to monitor her heart rate and to see if I had contractions at the same time. If I had contractions, the nonstress test would let Dr. Hill know how well Paityn was tolerating those contractions. When I started having Braxton Hicks, I met every week with Dr. Cajas and Dr. Hill. They did nonstress tests on my baby twice a week. They wanted to space them apart so if I was having contractions, they could see it. At every appointment, they talked to me about my birth plan.”
The plan was to deliver Paityn at 40 weeks. Dr. Hill explained to Tierany the risks and benefits with trying to deliver naturally versus a Cesarean section due to her heart condition. The goal was to put the least amount of stress on her heart, but it was up to Tierany to make that final decision. A few days before Tierany was admitted to the hospital, Dr. Hill compiled detailed notes on what Tierany could and couldn’t do. As much as possible, he did not want her to feel any contractions or do anything that would increase her blood pressure and accelerate her heart rate especially leading up to the birth of her daughter.
When Tierany arrived at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – Westover Hills on March 27, 2022, the nurses started her on a Foley balloon, a catheter-like device that helps the cervix dilate when labor needs to be induced. Her cervix dilated to 3.5 centimeters before she began feeling light cramping and contractions. The next morning, Tierany had an epidural to help speed up her progress. She was on a continuous slow and light drip of Pitocin to avoid hyperstimulation because of her heart condition. Her nurses did not want her to feel the contractions. Later that evening, when Tierany had not progressed, Dr. Cajas broke her water.
“The slow drip of Pitocin helped me dilate but it wasn’t doing too much,” said Tierany. “I didn’t realize that once my water broke, my contractions got very serious. I had an IV in my left arm that had Pitocin, magnesium and other fluids. The magnesium helped with my heart. My doctors also gave me potassium pills for my heart, and I was still taking my beta blocker medications. Then, around four in the morning, I started feeling intense contractions. I clicked the epidural button to draw more medicine, but it was almost empty. I called my nurse, and she stepped in to help. Later that morning when Dr. Cajas checked on me to see my progress, he could feel my baby’s head. I was super excited and so ready to finally meet her.”
Since Tierany’s pregnancy was high risk, her doctors planned everything out in case something happened during delivery. Tierany was hooked up to an EKG telemonitor to monitor her heart rate throughout the birth process. They also had a crash cart ready just in case she had to be resuscitated. Luckily, there were no complications. On March 29, 2022, at 10:09 a.m., after three pushes, Tierany and her fiancé, Byron, welcomed their precious baby daughter, Paityn, into the world. She weighed 6 pounds and 15 ounces.
“I got so emotional when I saw Paityn for the first time,” Tierany. “I got to see her little face looking right at me. We didn’t see her face but one time during my pregnancy because she always covered herself. Our daughter is two months old now, and she is nothing short of a miracle. She has a such a little attitude and a big personality. She is a happy baby, but she will give you mean faces when she demands something. She loves to be held all the time. She loves to eat. She eats four ounces every two hours. And she just started sleeping through the night. When she wakes up, she’ll scream at the top of her lungs like mommy, please feed me. She’s the cutest thing ever. While there were risks involved with me being pregnant, I was blessed with wonderful, caring doctors. Dr. Cajas and Dr. Hill were both amazing and followed my pregnancy closely. The nurses were great. They understood me and validated my concerns. They were always there whenever I needed them. They cared for me not just as a patient, but as a human being.”
After her daughter’s birth, Tierany had Paityn tested for LQTS since this heart problem can be genetically passed on. Tierany got the LQTS chromosome from her father. After taking a buccal swab test, the results came back two weeks later. Just like Tierany, Paityn also has the same heart condition. She’ll have regular visits with her cardiologist at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, Dr. Arpit Agrawal, throughout her life – but just like her mother, she can still enjoy life to the fullest.
“I am glad we did the buccal swab test and caught it when she was a newborn,” said Tierany. “Most kids find out they have it much later when they get their first episode, since there are no symptoms early on. While I didn’t want her to have LQTS, I know my baby can still live a healthy, vivacious life just like me.” To learn more about the Centers for Maternal and Fetal Care at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and how we care for high-risk pregnancies, please visit: Maternal Fetal Medicine | San Antonio, TX | Children’s Hospital (christushealth.org)