On her 5th birthday, Olive Monk asked when she could start school as a kindergartener in Montgomery, Texas, “She is very independent,” Olive’s mom Stefanie Monk explains, “so she has explained to me multiple times that she is going to school and I will stay in the car.”

But five years earlier, when Stefanie’s water broke at 20 weeks, Olive’s future looked challenging. “I was admitted to Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin at the direction of my doctor. My water broke at 20 weeks so I was placed on bedrest at home for four weeks and then admitted to Seton. Once I was admitted, I had more peace of mind. I visited with Dr. Scharnberg from the NICU and he explained….how the NICU team would be part of my daughter’s delivery.”

At 26 weeks, Stefanie’s body went into distress, “I was very scared. I went from having a normal day to a room full of doctors and nurses in a matter of minutes.” Thanks to the dynamic team of doctors at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin Olive was born and rushed to the Marialice Shivers Regional NICU, “I remember when Olive was born she gave a tiny little shout and everyone was very surprised. The neonatal nurse practitioner immediately put her on a table to get ready to transport to the NICU.”

Olive, Stefanie, and Matthew would spend 149 days in the Ascension Seton NICU. Five years later, in the fall of 2019, Olive started school. “The past five years have been hard but amazing,” Stephanie said, “Having a long NICU stay as your entry into parenthood definitely changes your view of the world. Olive has done great. Better than expected.”

During their time at Ascension Seton the Monk family forged a love of their caregivers and they recently attended the wedding of Olive’s primary nurse. “I feel like they are family to us. They were there with us when our family and friends didn’t really understand how to be there for us. I am so thankful for the vigilance and kindness. They not only took care of Olive, but they took care of me.”

47% of mothers who deliver babies at Ascension Seton are under- and/or un-insured. Because of this, many cannot afford advanced care in other hospitals if complications arise. These mothers depend on Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin to deliver their babies even if they are one of the 352,600 high risk pregnancies which occur each year.

We are wholeheartedly advancing the level of care for our mothers and babies. Learn more about our plans.

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