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Your Experience at the Fetal Health Center

Referral to the Fetal Health Center

No one plans for a complicated pregnancy. But when the unexpected happens, here's what you can expect from your experience with us.

If your doctor detects something unusual during your routine prenatal checkups and tests, he or she may refer you to the Fetal Health Center at Children's Mercy for a consultation. You'll be paired with a specially-trained nurse care coordinator who will help you navigate the process from the start.

Getting to know your Nurse Coordinator

Your nurse coordinator will talk to you on the phone as soon as your referral comes through. They will gather as much information as possible to help us get to know you and your baby, and then set up your first appointment--usually within a day or two. Your nurse coordinator will take care of transferring medical records, scheduling the specialists, and connecting you with resources like the Ronald McDonald House if you'll be traveling.

Your first appointment

At your first appointment, members of the Fetal Health Center team will meet with you to discuss next steps. We may recommend additional testing, such as a detailed ultrasound, genetic testing, or any other studies the doctors request to help them understand your baby's condition. You'll also meet with your nurse coordinator and a social worker, who can talk with you about resources to help you along the way.

Integrated consultation: every specialist in one place


Once you have a diagnosis, your care coordinator will arrange for you to meet with a team of specialists who will be involved with caring for your baby. We call this an “integrated consultation”. 

A group of different doctors and specialists who will be involved in your baby's care get together in one room. You will sit around the table with them to talk directly about your baby's diagnosis and treatment options and discuss all your questions and concerns. Then, we will work together to create the best possible plan of care for you and your baby.

Your nurse coordinator will be in the integrated consultation with you and take you on a tour of the delivery suites, NICU, and anywhere else in the hospital that might be helpful for you to see. There's a lot to process, so you can always call your nurse coordinator with questions that come up after you go home.

Dedicated Nurse Coordinators: here to plan all the next steps for you

Your nurse coordinator will help you work with your obstetrician, maternal-fetal medicine specialist and the Children's Mercy team to plan the next steps for your family. These might include:

  • Planning for your child's birth in our Special Care Delivery suites, with immediate access to our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)—the highest level NICU in the Kansas City area (Level IV)

  • Preparing for an intervention such as fetal surgery

  • Setting up a team of specialists to care for your child after birth. These could include:

    • All the relevant medical specialists for your child's condition
    • A dedicated nurse practitioner to help support your physical, mental and emotional health as a new mom while your baby is in excellent hands
    • Our Palliative Care Team, which helps support families of children with complex medical needs
  • Meeting with a genetic counselor, psychologist or social worker to talk about your questions and concerns
  • Connecting you with resources like the Ronald McDonald House when you need to stay close to Children's Mercy before or after your child's birth

No matter what you need, you and your baby are always at the center of the care plan. 

"I am your person."

A message from your Care Coordinator 

Dear expecting parents,

I know you never expected to meet someone like me. That’s ok—most parents don’t plan to be in a children’s hospital before their baby is even born. I get it.

Believe me, I’ve been a nurse for a long time now. I’ve pretty much seen it all. But I know that for you, this is all new…and really scary.

I wish I could promise you everything will be ok. A lot of times, it will be. But there are hard days, too.

No matter what, I can promise that I will be here for you. This is why I do what I do—coordinate all your appointments, track down every medical record, put together just the right team of specialists to help your baby have the very best chance, and keep you involved and updated every step of the way.

In other words, I’m your person. You can call me whenever you have a question or don’t understand something the doctors said. I will get to know your whole family, including your baby, and call them by name. You and your baby are not just a patient or a case to me…you’re unique and beautiful, and I care about you.

I know you never expected to meet me. But I’m ready to meet you and your sweet baby.

All the best,

Melanie Foltz, Director of Nursing, Fetal Health Center

Jana Reed, Fetal Surgery Nurse Coordinator 

Allie Wayne, Fetal Health Program Coordinator