Healthcare Connections: Keri and Pace Tonn
A story to make you go “awww”
Once the sniffles go away and you’re not wondering what on earth is making your back ache, you may not think about your doctor. In fact, when you’re leaving to pick up your prescriptions, you’ve already forgotten about the person hard at work behind you. Sometimes, however, extraordinary circumstances really bring you and your doctor close—and this is one of those stories.
In 2009, Keri Tonn was happy to find herself at 18 weeks pregnant with the news that they were expecting a boy. Within a few days, Keri would begin experiencing elevated signs of preeclampsia—a multi-system pregnancy disorder that, if not treated quickly and effectively, could be harmful to both the mother and fetus.
For the next ten weeks, Keri was in and out of the Margot Perot Center for Women and Infants at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. Our very own Dr. Julie Hagood worked alongside Dr. Brian Rinehart and a medical team to monitor Keri’s pregnancy and combat her preeclampsia. However, it began to spiral out of control at 28 weeks, leading to an early delivery.
Pace Tonn was born at 2:54 a.m. on December 31, 2009 at just 2 pounds, 12 ounces. At 12 weeks premature, Pace faced a 7-month long stay in the hospital’s Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). On top of ventilator care, he also required blood transfusions and several surgeries. Although Keri was released four days after delivery, baby Pace had a long road ahead.
The NICU was actually turned into a miniature surgical suite so that Pace wouldn’t experience any trauma from being moved, following a PDA litigation procedure. Before long, Pace became known as a “miracle and inspiration” around the hospital.
In 2013, Pace returned to Texas Health, but it was a happy occasion: he was welcoming his younger brother. Despite having a rocky start, Pace is now a thriving four year old. Mom Keri said, “When Pace was born, Mary Collins was my labor and delivery nurse. She was meant to be with me. I just know it. When you meet someone at midnight, just after you learn your baby is going to be delivered three months early, and you need someone to keep it together for you and your husband, you hope and pray you have someone like Mary. It was extra-special that she was again present in the delivery room when we welcomed our second son.”
Our very own Dr. Hargood was more than pleased to help Keri and Pace in their beginning stages, and she can’t wait to meet you, too!