St. Joseph's

Birthing Patient Stories

Marianne FleisnerParents doubly grateful for team of doctors, specialists after high-risk pregnancy

Marianne and Corey Fleisner of Kewaskum were eager to start a family after they were married in 2009. But their path to parenthood would be a difficult one, with heartaches along the way, and blessings too. 

The Fleisners had tried for several years to become pregnant. Their faith gave them strength through the challenges. Marianne had undergone multiple invitro fertilization (IVF) procedures and pregnancy loss. Then, early this year, wonderful news: Marianne was pregnant, with twins! 

“Marianne was a high-risk patient from the start because she had some bleeding.

The early ultrasound showed that she was carrying identical twins who shared the same placenta and amniotic sac. The risks of having any complications are considerably higher with this kind of twin pregnancy,” said Froedtert Health Medical Group obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) Shireen Jayne, DO, Marianne’s doctor since February 2010. 

There was not only a higher risk of pre-term labor, but also the possibility of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, where the babies receive an unequal blood flow from the shared placenta, and one of the babies fails to grow. 

Dr. Jayne then enlisted Medical College of Wisconsin perinatologist Cresta Jones, MD, a maternal/fetal medicine specialist and expert on complex complications with multiple births. Marianne continued to see Dr. Jayne at Froedtert Health West Bend Clinic – South, and also saw Dr. Jones every two weeks for an ultrasound at the Fetal Concerns Center of Wisconsin, a cooperative effort between the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Birth Center and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. 

“Dr. Jayne is awesome. She was our primary care physician and was with us through everything, providing exceptional care and a preventive approach. We had a rare kind of pregnancy so she wanted it monitored by Dr. Jones,” Marianne said. 

“Froedtert Health in West Bend has a fantastic group of professionals who are very skilled at what they do. It’s a huge benefit of our collaborative model that patients who have higher risk can continue their care in the system with their doctor in their community and, if they need to, access all the services of the academic medical center,” said Dr. Jones, who also sees patients in West Bend and Menomonee Falls. 

The doctors stayed in constant contact with their patient and each other. At the same time, they kept their eyes on the calendar. Because of the increased risks, it would be best to deliver the twins a little early, between 34 and 36 weeks gestation. 

The couple’s fears rose when Marianne went into early labor at 29 weeks. She was admitted for several short stays at both Children’s and St. Joseph’s and medications were given to stop her contractions. 

“Our goal was that we wanted to get to St. Joe’s,” Marianne said. “We made it just at 35 weeks.” 

As Dr. Jayne prepared for the scheduled C-section, she was confident the babies would do well because they were already a good size. A full team was in the C-section suite, including Froedtert Health Medical Group pediatrician Anna Hankins, MD. Each twin would have their own team of two experienced neonatal providers. 

“With preterm babies in general you potentially run the risk of difficulty breathing, which could turn into an emergency. Low blood sugar is another concern,” Dr. Hankins said. 

On Friday, Aug. 3, Charlize Evelyn Ann arrived at 8:09 a.m. weighing 4 pounds 9 ounces. The next minute, Coralie Kathryn Ann followed at 4 pounds 13 ounces. The newborn twins were checked over and gently handed to their parents for skin-to-skin contact, the first of many calming, skin-to-skin meet-ups for an hour or two that were especially important to Marianne and Corey throughout their stay.

When the twins developed some apnea, or pauses in their breathing, the next day, they were monitored around the clock in the hospital’s Special Care Nursery. They also needed to be tube-fed with an oral-gastric tube in their tiny noses, since they would tire out after sucking and wouldn’t get enough milk, Dr. Hankins said. 

“Dr. Hankins made sure all our needs were taken care of. She’d sit down and explain everything to us,” Marianne said. 

Staff helped the parents feel confident and learn how to care for their babies with the tubes in place. “I was tired and worried, that’s why it was so important to have that emotional support,” Marianne said. “The nurses provided us with tremendous care and we learned so much from them. They taught us the best methods for helping our twin girls to grow and thrive.” 

“It’s a wonderful hospital. We appreciated all the education because we weren’t able to make the prenatal classes when Marianne was on bed rest,” said Corey. 

After two weeks, the Fleisners took their daughters home. Their ongoing pediatric care is being provided by Froedtert Health Medical Group pediatrician Andrew Guminski, MD, at Froedtert Health Kewaskum Clinic, close to the family’s home. By September, Charlize and Coralie had already gained nearly two pounds each, with more milestones to come.


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