Best of beginnings for Blake boys

Birthing Services
“On this day, Melanie’s ultrasound revealed decreased blood flow between the placenta and the twins. Dr. Swartout decided the babies needed to be delivered. Melanie asked if they could wait a day, until her mother arrived from Kansas City, and Eric thought about the students back at their home.”

As a church youth director, Eric Blake, and his wife, Melanie, were hosting a weekend retreat for 15 college students at their home in Sauk Rapids. Waving goodbye to the students, the Blakes promised to return shortly after their Friday appointment at the St. Cloud Hospital Perinatology Clinic, which supports women with high-risk pregnancies.

Due to ups and downs during their pregnancy, the Blakes had been coming weekly, then several times per week to the clinic after learning they would have twins.

“With frequent visits, we get to know our patients and can identify potential
complications before they develop,” said Perinatologist Jessica Swartout, MD. “We see a pregnancy through to the end — most often a happy, healthy delivery. But if needed, we help parents get through difficult times with our high level of specialty care.”

On this day, Melanie’s ultrasound revealed decreased blood flow between the placenta and the twins. Dr. Swartout decided the babies needed to be delivered. Melanie asked if they could wait a day, until her mother arrived from Kansas City, and Eric thought about the students back at their home.

“Because we respected and trusted Dr. Swartout, we went ahead with the delivery,” Eric said. “She went above and beyond for us — even checking in on us while on vacation.”

The boys, Levi and Micah, were born seven weeks early. They spent one month in a private room specially designed for twins at the hospital’s new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Melanie appreciated that all birthing services were on the same floor.

“It was hugely helpful,” Melanie said. “After my perinatology visit, I literally walked down the hall for my birth. Then afterwards I walked to the NICU.”

Now at home, the Blakes are adjusting to a new routine.

“Eat, sleep, diaper, repeat,” Eric said. Both Eric and Melanie laugh when reflecting upon their eventual return home after the youth retreat. “The house was left cleaner than it is now,” Eric said.