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Faith rewarded three-fold for Brasco Family
Thanks to the expertise of BWH specialists, the newly expanded Brasco family includes three healthy children, the youngest of whom was brought into the world at BWH last Friday.
A blood platelet incompatibility between Stacie Brasco and her husband, Wayne Jr., called for additional innovative measures to bring about uncomplicated pregnancies and healthy deliveries of their three children-Wayne III, Katelyn and little Ashley Marie.
Stacie's immune system attacks the platelets in the blood of her unborn children, a condition that puts additional risks on pregnancy and delivery. A fortuitous Caesarian section saved her first baby, and intensive intravenous blood product treatments gave her a second healthy child. And, despite undergoing a tubal ligation following the birth of her second child, the Brascos decided to reverse that procedure and face the challenges of a third pregnancy, which came to a happy ending with Ashley Marie's April 22 delivery.
“Yes, this will certainly be a great Mother's Day,” said 33-year-old Stacie, thrilled to be the mother of now three little ones. “Everyone is doing well,” she reported from the family's Waltham home this week.
Like her first two births, the months leading to Ashley Marie's arrival were filled with anxiety. The combination of blood from Stacie and Wayne Jr. leave their children with a rare condition called neonatal alloimmune thromboctyopenia (NAIT). The reason her immune system attacks her baby's platelets is because the baby's platelets have a surface antigen from the father that is not present on Stacie's platelets.
Stacie's third pregnancy would not have been possible without a laparascopic, minimally invasive reverse tubal ligation performed more than a year after Stacie had her tubes tied. “It's a very rare surgery,” said Antonio Gargiulo, MD, a BWH fertility surgeon. He has performed only about 60 surgeries of this kind in the last five years.
Several months after Gargiulo performed the successful reversal procedure, Stacie became pregnant and began visiting BWH's Hematology Services Division weekly for intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) infusions. IVIG treatments affected Stacie's immune system in a way that prevented her from destroying her baby's platelets.
“Stacie's case was very unique. We treat cases like this only about once or twice a year,” said hematologist Jean Marie Connors, MD, staff physician, Hematology Services, BWH/DFCI.
Stacie is among 2 percent of people who do not have this antigen on their platelets, while her husband is among the 98 percent who do. The danger manifests when the baby inherits the gene coding for the platelet antigen and the mother's immune system attacks the baby's platelets.
High-risk obstetrician Louise Wilkins-Haug, MD, PhD, medical director of the Center for Fetal Medicine and Prenatal Genetics, provided prenatal care. She said a C-section was necessary as traditional childbirth is risky given the blood condition. The smooth delivery marked a successful patient case despite its complexity and presented the Brascos with another family member to help Stacie celebrate a very special Mother's Day.
“Stacie and her family were aware of the risks and had faith in our expertise. These are the positive outcomes we hope for,” said Wilkins-Haug.