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Denmark couple blessed with robotic help

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Wednesday, November 28, 2007 | 1 comments

New technique clears way for parents' second child

After more than five years trying to conceive, Paul and Martina Weyde started to think their dreams of having another child were hopeless.

"I was willing to try anything," Martina Weyde said. "It was very devastating. It was always a blow to my husband and I to go month after month and find out you're still not pregnant."

Endometriosis — a condition that causes scar tissue around the uterus making it difficult to conceive — had hindered the Denmark couple's chances, said Dr. Herb Coussons, a surgeon who specializes in infertility for Bellin Health.

Coussons suggested the couple try laparoscopic surgery in order to correct the endometriosis — a procedure he would perform with the help of a surgical robot.

"I was all for it," Martina Weyde said. "I was sick of waiting. I would've done it that day if I could have."

Although she had undergone the surgery twice before without robotic assistance, Coussons said the robot, formally called the da Vinci Surgical System, would be able to remove the blockage with greater precision.

Three months to the date of her robotic-assisted surgery, Martina Weyde was finally pregnant.

"It was complete disbelief," she said. "It was very surreal. It was joy and tears. I was speechless."

Paul Weyde also experienced a full gamut of emotions when that day finally came.

"I was so happy for my wife," he said. "She had to deal with the physical signs so it was such a relief. We wanted this so much."

The couple welcomed baby Gabriella, now nearly 6 months old, to their family in June — something that would not have been possible without the robotic surgery, Martina Weyde said.

"Technology is so awesome right now," she said. "I am just so thankful for Dr. Coussons and what a blessing he is to our family."

Bellin started using the machine nearly three years ago, making it the first hospital in Wisconsin to do so, Coussons said.

The robot's arms act as a surgeon's, holding medical instruments and making incisions but with more precision and dexterity, he said.

A surgeon controls the robotic arms from a console a few feet away, peering in a viewer displaying a 3-D, real-time image relayed from cameras located on the arms, Coussons said.

"When I move my hands and do whatever I do, the robot understands," he said. "The ability to give the control is phenomenal."

Patients who undergo robotic-assisted surgeries will experience less blood loss, reduced risk of complications and a shortened hospital stay, he said.

"I went home that day," Martina Weyde said of her surgery. "I was back to work in about a week."

The $1.5 million piece of equipment has already performed more than 400 procedures, Coussons said, adding that they are one of five or six in the state to be using the technology.

St. Vincent Hospital has been using a da Vinci Surgical System since February and has since performed 90 procedures, said Paula Haseman, chief nurse executive.

"It really is amazing," she said. "It allows for a very small incision and less pain for patients."

For 9-year-old Abi Weyde, it was the solution that brought her a new baby sister — the 29th of 31 grandchildren in the family.

Being a big sister is "very fun," she said. "She sleeps in a room right next to mine."

The Weydes said although they never planned to have their second child eight years later, they are thankful to have been given the chance.

"It's a blessing Dr. Coussons was able to fulfill our wants and dreams," Paul Weyde said, "and complete our family."


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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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  1. Hi Catherine,

    I liked your encouraging title for those who are thinking of get pregnant in their 40's...

    On the other hand, natural therapies such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy and acupressure have successfully treated women with endometriosis and trying to become pregnant.

    Following a healthy diet and good exercise routine to boost the immune system and to maintain the body fitness can also improve the changes of getting pregnant after having proper treatment.

    Health Watch Center

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