Expecting the Unexpected

At 28 weeks pregnant, Deangela Futch and Anthony Mullins, Jr., were thrilled to have just discovered their baby’s gender. In just three months, the West Chester couple would finally get to meet their first born, a son.

Dee Futch & Anthony Mullins, Jr.

Dee Futch and Anthony Mullins, Jr.

A day after getting the good news about her growing baby boy, Deangela started cramping and bleeding so she and Anthony headed to West Chester Hospital for an evaluation. Not long after, she was told that she would be transported by ambulance to University of Cincinnati (UC) Medical Center.

The couple wasn’t overly concerned, thanks to the EMT nurse who accompanied Deangela on the ride. She described him as “reassuring and informative,” exactly what she needed to remain calm in an otherwise alarming situation. Preeclampsia and HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelet count) syndrome – conditions characterized by elevated blood pressure during pregnancy – were threatening Deangela and her baby. The conditions can lead to seizures or stroke and can be fatal to both mom and baby, if left untreated. Upon arrival at UC Medical Center, Deangela was greeted by physicians and nurses who carefully explained the situation and answered the couple’s questions.

Anthony Mullins, III in the NICU

Anthony Mullins, III in the NICU

Emily DeFranco, DO, maternal fetal medicine specialist at UC Medical Center, explained that Deangela’s blood pressure needed to go down and she needed to be on bedrest for about six more weeks at the hospital. However, as the hours passed, their intended plan seemed less likely to succeed. Deangela’s blood pressure remained high, causing her to have a seizure and go into labor. Deangela recalls meeting her entire team of care providers when it was clear that the delivery couldn’t be postponed.

“We met everyone who had something to do with our care. They gave the entire play-by-play crash course, since we hadn’t planned on delivering that soon,” Deangela said.

During the emergency C-section, Deangela was surrounded by caring, compassionate staff.

“I felt so comforted because everyone knew exactly what to do. They let me cry, they rubbed my back, they held my hand and they answered all of our questions,” she explained.

Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) staff waited in the operating room to welcome Anthony Mullins, III, into the world. Anthony, at only 28 weeks gestation, weighed only two pounds. The NICU team transported Anthony to the Level III NICU down the hall, where he was placed in an incubator and hooked up to a machine to help him breathe.

“The NICU staff was amazing. It felt like our son had surrogate parents looking out for him,” Deangela said.

The staff prepared the couple for what to expect when they first saw their son. They also took careful care to review all of the team members involved in their child’s care and the purpose of every tube, wire and medical device. A physician called the couple every morning to let them know how their son did through the night, how many bowel movements, diaper changes, and feedings he’d had and his general well-being.

“They love those babies,” Deangela added. “They give them the same care and love that you’d provide as parents. They read to him, held him, prayed for him and held his hand.”

Deangela says that knowing that level of care and concern her son was receiving make it possible for the couple to feel comfortable enough to leave their son each night and go home to sleep.

Just less than six weeks later, the couple took their son home earlier than predicted.

“He’s even ahead of the game developmentally,” added the proud mom. Deangela believes it was the loving support and exceptional care her son received from staff members that allowed him to thrive and exceed everyone’s expectations.

Anthony Mullins, III at home

Anthony Mullins, III at home


  • University of Cincinnati Medical Center has earned Perinatal Care Certification from The Joint Commission–the only hospital in Ohio to achieve the designation, and one of only 34 nationwide. This means UC Medical Center is successful at reducing preterm births and infant mortality rates by providing consistent, specialized care for mothers and their infants before, during and after delivery. The certification program recognizes Joint Commission accredited hospitals committed to:
  • Integrated, coordinated patient-centered care that starts with prenatal and continues through postpartum care.
  • Early identification of high-risk pregnancies and births.
  • Management of mothers’ and newborns’ risks at a level corresponding to the program’s capabilities.
  • Available patient education and information about perinatal care services.

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