Jessica Escareno thought for sure she had COVID-19 when she drove herself to the emergency department at Providence Queen of the Valley Medical Center in late 2021. The Napa mom tested negative on that visit, but soon was back in the ED with similar symptoms. After a second COVID test came back negative, ED staff ordered blood work and she was positive for something else much more pleasant—she was pregnant.
“I thought they had mixed up the labs,” said Escareno, a personal banker who grew up in Calistoga. “I was totally surprised. The way I was feeling, I thought it was either COVID or meningitis.”
Not only was she pregnant, but a subsequent visit to her obstetrician revealed Escareno was expecting twins. Her and her husband, Jose Alfredo, had to now imagine a family with five children.
“It’s been an incredible journey, but different,” said Escareno.
The primary difference was a complicated pregnancy due to health conditions which led to bed rest. The babies were monochorionic diamniotic (Mo-Di) twins which means they share a placenta and therefore a blood supply. They developed a condition called, “twin to twin transfusion syndrome”, which is when blood passes unequally between the twins. Without intervention, TTTS can be fatal so Escareno followed the doctor’s orders. She was referred to the University of California-San Francisco for delivery due to these complications.
The twin girls— Nalani and Nathalia—were born at UCSF earlier than expected on January 30, 2022 when Escareno was just 31 weeks pregnant. The babies arrived before a planned baby shower, so she hadn’t had a chance to arrange for car seats. That’s when she remembered a program at Queen of the Valley Medical Center.
“I remembered from a previous pregnancy that The Queen offered resources for new moms, so I reached out and applied for the car seats,” said Escareno.
The program is managed by The Queen’s Community Health Investment team and supports parents with the purchase of a new car seat (or in Jessica’s case, car seats!) The car seats provided are convertible car seats for newborns and typically last up to one year of age, depending on the height and weight of the child.
“We offer a wide variety of support for new parents in our community,” said Vivian Casillas, community program educator and certified car seat technician instructor for Queen of the Valley Medical Center. “Not only do we offer free car seats for families who qualify, but we also help them install and inspect the car seats so that they can rest assured that their babies are safe on the road. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and it’s really gratifying to see how much parents appreciate the support.”
For Jessica, it’s been an amazing experience.
“It’s extremely important for a hospital to be able to provide these resources to families. You never know when you will need them. It’s wonderful that The Queen is here to support our community.”
To learn if you qualify for a free car seat or to learn more about the car seat installation program offered at Queen of the Valley, call (707) 312-3809 or visit providence.org/queen. Queen of the Valley offers comprehensive care to mothers throughout their pregnancy and delivery, with approximately 800 babies delivered each year at our maternity center. To learn more about our maternity center, visit providence.org/queen.
Caption: Twins Nalani and Nathalia were born on January 30 weighing 2.4 lbs and was 4.8lbs respectively. They are pictured here in their new car seats provided by Queen of the Valley Medical Center.
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