“My first true test as a mom came when I was 24 weeks pregnant and hospitalized for high blood pressure,” says Becky Leon. “I knew Magee was the best place for my baby and for me, and I tried to concentrate on that.”

Four years ago, when Becky and her husband John wanted to start a family, they found it was more difficult than they anticipated. After consulting with the Center for Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, they decided to proceed with intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatment.

“We got pregnant with our first treatment, which is unusual,” said Becky. “We were prepared for it to take several rounds but we were incredibly lucky.”

Becky’s pregnancy progressed normally until her 22nd week, when she learned during a routine appointment that her blood pressure had sky-rocketed.

“My doctors worked with me to find the right medications that could bring my blood pressure under control, but nothing was effective,” said Becky. “At twenty-four weeks pregnant I was admitted to Magee because the situation was dangerous for me and my baby.”

The high-risk specialists in Magee’s maternal-fetal medicine department diagnosed Becky with preeclampsia, a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and, often, the presence of protein in the urine.

“Becky had an amazing attitude under incredibly difficult circumstances,” said Dr. Kristiina Parviainen, one of the members of Becky’s high-risk MFM team. “We wanted to prolong her pregnancy as long as we could while still protecting her health, and she was grateful for every extra day she remained pregnant.”

When Becky was twenty-nine and a half weeks pregnant, her blood pressure became too difficult to control and Dr. Parviainen delivered her daughter Parker via caesarean section. At just 2 pounds and 5 ounces, Parker was immediately rushed to Magee’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

“We were so lucky to have the NICU,” said Becky. “Parker’s main obstacle after birth was breathing. She also had to learn to eat. Everyone who worked in the NICU was incredibly caring and made sure we understood how our baby was developing every step of the way.”

Today, Parker is happy, healthy one-year old girl who loves crawling, standing, swimming, Kindermusik classes, Moana and key lime yogurt. She is full of life and always smiling and kicking her legs.

“Our entire pregnancy journey took place at Magee, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Becky. “I was confident the entire time that I was receiving the best care possible, and that allowed me to focus on my health and the health of my baby.”

To donate to Magee and support families like Becky, John, and Parker, click here.