Johnson Center Patient Stories

John Vidigal

Juliana Vidigal was just shy of 26 weeks pregnant when she started bleeding and feeling abdominal pain. She immediately called her neighbor, who gave her a ride to a nearby hospital in San Francisco. The news wasn’t good. Learn more >



Kelly Chong and baby

Fitness enthusiast Kelly Chong always wanted to have a baby, and with successful in vitro fertilization it looked like that dream might come true. Yet she had a big hurdle to overcome: a serious heart condition—one that became more dangerous with pregnancy. Learn more >




Fifteen-month-old Emiliana’s name means “to strive, or excel, or rival.” Her parents chose it well before she was born, and their choice turned out to be prescient. Emiliana was born extremely early, when Christine was 23 weeks and three days pregnant—still in her second trimester. Christine was quickly transferred to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, where the Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was more equipped to care for a micro-preemie. Learn more >

Lorena and her baby

Lorena Granados was ecstatic. She was pregnant once again, after a decade since the birth of her third daughter. While she and her husband, Horacio, had been given the gift of another baby, his birth wasn’t destined to be easy like the others. At 20 weeks along, Lorena contracted COVID-19. She hardly felt sick at first; then a week later she passed out in bed, unable to breathe. Doctors at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford had a doubly challenging job: keep Lorena alive and keep her pregnant as long as possible. It was an incredibly challenging goal, even for a team that was used to providing the highest level of critical care for mothers and babies. Lorena was on ECMO at Packard Children’s Hospital for 45 days before our specialists helped her deliver Matthias. Learn more >

Sheila with her baby

Five months into Shelia’s pregnancy, a sonogram had revealed that the baby’s airway was pinched and dangerously narrow. To ensure that she would survive delivery, Shelia’s baby would need a breathing tube to be placed into her airway before her umbilical cord was cut. This complex procedure is known as EXIT-to-airway. Packard Children’s Hospital is one of the few medical centers that can offer EXIT procedures. This is in part due to the deeply-integrated, multidisciplinary care that can be coordinated by the Fetal and Pregnancy Health Program, between specialists in maternal-fetal medicine, pediatric ENT, obstetrics and pediatric anesthesia, and neonatology. Learn more >


Even though he’s just 3 years old, Kaleb Perry grasps what takes most of us a lifetime to understand: Life is a gift that should be celebrated, every single moment of every single day. Maybe it’s because he beat the odds to be here. After all, doctors saved his life even before he was born. When Mandy, Kaleb’s mom, was about 12 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound showed that Kaleb’s urethra was blocked, causing his bladder to become extremely large and inflated. He was diagnosed with a rare condition called fetal lower urinary tract obstruction (LUTO). Mandy was told there was nothing to be done and that Kaleb would likely not survive. Learn more >


When Helisabed learned that the baby she was carrying had spina bifida, and that Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford could perform a vital in utero surgery to possibly save the baby from serious limitations later in life, she didn’t hesitate. Learn more >



Dr. Aziz with Sandy Pineda

Sandy Pineda knows the grief of losing a child, but she doesn’t let her personal pain stop her from helping other women bring babies into the world. As a certified nurse midwife, she shares great joy with her patients, but she’s also called upon to face her grief afresh whenever one of her pregnant moms loses a baby unexpectedly. Her first daughter, Yesenia, was born 13 years ago and lived 29 days. The grief is still sharp today, bringing Pineda to tears as she tells her story of losing Yesenia to an extremely rare condition called neonatal hemochromatosis (NH). Learn more >


After being born prematurely, Mathias faced severe and chronic health struggles. But his multidisciplinary team of Stanford doctors saw a way to help him live a long, happy life. Learn more >