Levi's Story

In 2020, Rob and Jackie Michals of Mound decided to grow their family that already included two young daughters ages 3 and 5. Jackie trusted the care of Ridgeview’s Matthew Weinrich, MD, for her first two children and she had exceptional experiences delivering both girls at Ridgeview. However, her third delivery was not like the others.

“At 13 weeks, after completing the genetic test, we received a call from Dr. Weinrich saying that our baby likely had Down syndrome,” said Jackie. “I thought, ‘How is this going to affect our family? How is this going to affect our children?’”

Rob was immediately comforting and together, they knew they could get through anything.

“There was obviously a lot of emotion, and that turned into positivity,” said Rob.

According to the National Down Syndrome Society, approximately 1 in 700 babies is born with Down syndrome each year in the United States. Approximately half of these children born with Down syndrome have a heart condition.

Because of this, Jackie’s care team decided maternal fetal medicine specialists should closely monitor her baby. Jackie and Rob were faced with traveling to downtown Minneapolis for weekly visits with her team of maternal fetal specialists.

“It was kind of a shock to go from planning my normal visits with Dr. Weinrich and planning on delivering at Ridgeview, to now having to do weekly visits with maternal fetal medicine specialists in downtown,” said Jackie.

“It was a lot of driving back and forth from Mound to Minneapolis,” said Rob. “It was comforting to be in the care of specialists, but it would have been nice to have it closer to home.”

On Aug. 2, 2021, Jackie delivered Baby Levi at The Mother Baby Center in Minneapolis. Levi stayed in the hospital for two weeks, forcing Jackie and Rob to continue making the roughly 50-mile round trip drive each day.

Today, Baby Levi is back at home in Mound and enjoys his weekly visits with Ridgeview Pediatric Rehab for physical therapy and occupational therapy. “Levi is the happiest, sweetest little boy, and it’s been a pleasure to get to know him,” said his Ridgeview occupational therapist Alisha Scheff, who is focusing on Levi’s feeding difficulties.

Rob and Jackie experienced having care at Ridgeview and downtown, but because of donors, more patients can receive more care close to home in Waconia. Recently, Ridgeview increased its education opportunities through the use of simulation technology and training. Simulation is a technique that replicates many aspects of a clinical situation in a realistic, interactive fashion that allows clinicals to develop new skills and master existing skills. As a result of this simulation training, Ridgeview clinicians gain the skills necessary to care for patients who have more complex needs – thus keeping more patients close to home.

“I’m so grateful to the Ridgeview staff and their team approach,” said Jackie. “I really appreciate receiving quality care close to home and not having to go downtown.”

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