Providence supported one family through a challenging birth


In this article: 

  • Melissa Webber and Tyrel Williams knew they wanted children, so when they found out Melissa was pregnant in the spring of 2021, they were over the moon with happiness.

  • In October of 2021, Melissa’s blood pressure spiked, and she had to deliver her baby, Poppy, early. Poppy spent the next four weeks in the NICU.

  • The Providence Alaska Children’s Hospital care team was there for Poppy and her parents every step of the way — from delivery to decision-making to financial aid.

Providence supported one family through a challenging birth

From the time they were married, Melissa Webber and Tyrel Williams knew they wanted children. When Melissa found out she was pregnant in the spring of 2021, she was over the moon.

“We were really excited,” she says. “I had a relatively easy pregnancy. No hiccups.”

That changed in October 2021, when Melissa’s blood pressure rose to a dangerous level. At just 33 weeks pregnant, Melissa was scared. She and Tyrel went to Providence Alaska Medical Center to see Tania Hall, M.D., Obstetrics and Gynecology, at Alaska Women’s Health, P.C., in Anchorage.

“She was amazing,” Melissa recalls. “She was nice and comforting in what was a stressful time.”

Dr. Hall told Melissa and Tyrel they would have to stay at the hospital. “We didn’t have anything with us,” Melissa says. “We didn’t know what that meant. Was the baby coming now? Was the baby coming tomorrow? It was a lot of wait and see, but the staff at Providence was incredibly empathetic toward what we were going through.”

Tyrel adds, “It was really calming to have (caregivers) explaining what was going on and walking us through everything. They understand, and they know what they’re doing. We were already where we needed to be — at the hospital.”

Melissa and Tyrel also met with a doctor from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) care team. “They give you a packet (with information) when they know you have a baby who’s going to be born early,” Melissa says. “That’s really helpful, and that’s what they did for us, by preparing us and letting us know what we would be getting into in those next couple of hours.”

“Life-changing” care

Melissa and Tyrel’s baby, Poppy Williams, was born on Oct. 10, 2021. She was 16.5 inches long, and weighed 3 pounds, 5 ounces. “She was just tiny and perfect, and it was amazing” after such a challenging birth experience, Melissa says.

Poppy had to stay in the NICU for 28 days. When the new parents were able to take her home after four weeks, “it was the most exciting moment,” Melissa recalls, “and it was such a relief to have her with us.”

But then the bill came, and the couple’s relief over having their new baby home turned to worry when they learned their insurance wasn’t going to cover the combined costs of her NICU care and Melissa’s maternity care. “How do we pay that?” Tyrel remembers thinking after Poppy’s hospital stay. “Are we going to lose the house? Are we just going to try to pay this off our whole lives?”

They decided to seek social services through Providence and file for financial aid.

“Providence helped,” Melissa says. “They took care of 100% of it. And that just felt like the weight of the world lifted off our shoulders. It was just life changing.

“From the second we walked in the doors, even though we didn’t know what was going to happen, we felt like the care that we received at Providence, and the people who helped us, were amazing, and we could not have been more grateful to have been there.”

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Related resources

A tiny miracle made a little sweeter with help from Providence Alaska Children’s Hospital

Preparing for baby’s arrival with a comprehensive birth plan

Thinking about having a baby?

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.