All five children in the Julius family are special, but 3-month-old Emery Elizabeth’s name has a story.By Kristine Sorensen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — We’ve been hearing so much about the superheroes in hospitals who are treating coronavirus patients, but doctors and nurses save people’s lives every day.

Some superheroes at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital helped save the lives of a local mom and her baby.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

All five children in the Julius family are special, but 3-month-old Emery Elizabeth’s name has a story.

It started with an ultrasound when her mother, Megan, was 20 weeks pregnant.

“It all seemed like it was going really smoothly. And then the ultrasound tech left and came back and said that the baby had a lung malformation called a CPM and I left that appointment devastated,” said Megan.

That led the family to Dr. Stephen Emery, the director of the Center for Innovative Fetal Intervention at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. Because of the lung malformation, he discovered the baby was anemic, so he performed a blood transfusion in utero.

But it wasn’t lasting, and the baby soon needed a transfusion every week

“It was overwhelming, especially having other children at home,” Megan said of all of the time she and her husband, Rick, spent at Magee.

At 36 weeks into her pregnancy, Dr. Emery noticed something on Megan’s placenta and decided she needed a c-section right away. Dr. Emery and Dr. Tiffany Elizabeth Deihl helped deliver the baby.

“We all held our breath and crossed our fingers of how the baby would do in the nursery,” Dr. Stephen Emery said.

Baby Emery did great, but two days later, Dr. Emery got the results of the unusual spot on Megan’s placenta. It was placental cancer.

“He just said, ‘I hate to do this, but the pathology on your placenta came back, and it’s cancer,'” Megan said. “I was holding (Emery) and I looked down at her and I looked around the room and I just said, ‘I don’t understand. I don’t understand what you’re talking about.'”

“I just felt like this incredibly nice family had just been through too much, and to just have another diagnosis of cancer on top of it was just cruel,” Dr. Deihl said.

Placental cancer typically spreads before it’s found, but because Megan’s was found early, it hadn’t spread to her or her baby. She does not need chemotherapy.

“It’s so awful to have happened to you and then it’s so remarkable and miraculous at how well it turned out, what wonderful people are able to do in working together,” Rick said.

Doctors Emery and Deihl say they’re honored the baby is named after them.

“It floored me. It’s hard to describe the emotion, but I think that the closest I can get is just profound gratitude that I’m part of the family now,” Dr. Emery said.

Kristine Sorensen