- The Washington Times - Friday, February 10, 2006

From combined dispatches

PALO ALTO, Calif. — A woman who is 3 feet tall and weighed 37 pounds before she got pregnant has given birth to her first child — a healthy boy.

“We just took one day at a time. We had a lot of people praying for us. We just believed … and here we have our son,” said Eloysa Vasquez, 38, who has Type 3 osteogenesis imperfecta, a disorder that makes bones thin and brittle.

Mrs. Vasquez gained 20 pounds during pregnancy and delivered the 3-pound, 7-ounce boy on Jan. 24 at Stanford University’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

Doctors said they delivered Baby Timothy by Caesarean section eight weeks before the due date in order to protect the mother’s fragile health.

So even after two miscarriages, she and 5-foot-8 husband Roy were more determined than deterred, despite warnings from some doctors about potential danger.

When their third pregnancy made it past the first trimester, the Tulare, Calif., couple got help from specialists, eventually winding up with Dr. James Smith, an obstetrician at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

From tests early in the pregnancy, the parents already knew that Timothy would not share his mother’s genetic disorder, and that he would be a boy — and judging from her son’s long fingers and toes, Mrs. Vasquez said, “I think he’s going to be a tall boy.”

Right around the start of this year, about at the 29th week of her pregnancy, Mrs. Vasquez moved to a temporary residence near the hospital — just in case.

“My breathing started to get a little heavy,” explained Mrs. Vasquez. “I didn’t need oxygen or anything like that.”

What she did need was a Caesarean. Dr. Smith said her normal-sized uterus was doing fine, but there was no way her tiny body and its brittle bones could handle natural childbirth.

Even then, Dr. Smith said, the birth is the riskiest part of all. The routine blood loss from a uterus during childbirth doesn’t endanger normal-sized women, but it certainly could threaten Mrs. Vasquez.

“In her case, the average blood loss might be half of her circulation,” Dr. Smith told the San Francisco Chronicle, adding that most patients with such a severe form of Mrs. Vasquez’s affliction are never able to have children, so births like this are extremely rare. “It’s probably on the order of one in a million,” the doctor said.

Mr. Vasquez said his wife’s small stature can be deceiving: “She’s a strong lady.”

According to the university, one in only 25,000 to 50,000 births are to a mother with osteogenesis imperfecta, and even fewer involve moms with the severe Type 3 form.

Timothy is still in intensive care until he gets bigger, but Dr. Smith thinks he can go home in a couple of weeks.

But both parents know that Timothy will the only child in their branch of the Vasquez family. So Mr. Vasquez was going to be present for the birth, and no Caesarean section or high risk was going to stop him.

“I wanted to be there for everything,” he said.

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