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At the Bak family’s 20-week ultrasound appointment for their first child, something seemed off. The doctor told Trina that their baby likely had a lower urinary tract obstruction, a serious condition that meant there was tissue blocking the bladder and that amniotic fluid wasn’t being produced to help the baby grow.

“At first, I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal and they could just fix it,” says Trina. But she soon felt the gravity of the situation. They would need a lifesaving procedure to save their baby.

After the ultrasound, the Bak family was referred to the Midwest Fetal Care Center, a partnership between Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota, and the only place in the region that could get them the help they needed. They met Saul Snowise, MD, who explained that without intervention there was little chance that their baby would survive since amniotic fluid is essential to allowing babies to grow. But with intervention, their little one had a shot.

Photography provided by Children’s Minnesota

The day after Thanksgiving, Trina came back to the Midwest Fetal Care Center with her husband so that a shunt could be placed to allow the baby’s fluid to drain and to produce amniotic fluid. Trina only had a half-inch incision from the procedure and was out within an hour, but it saved their baby’s life.

Trina’s water broke when she was only 33 weeks pregnant, nearly two months premature. She went to the Mother Baby Center and received medications to help speed up her baby’s lung development because he was so premature. Then, two days later, it was time to deliver. The family welcomed their son and named him Jabari, meaning “brave” in Swahili. He came into the world with strong and fully developed lungs. Because he was premature and needed expert care, Jabari was admitted to the Children’s Minnesota neonatal intensive care unit in St. Paul, where the team could keep a watchful eye on him.

“Everybody was so fantastic,” Trina reflects, describing the team at Children’s Minnesota. Jabari spent nearly two weeks in the NICU before going home. While the Bak family continues to follow up with Jabari’s expert team at Children’s Minnesota, he is expected to continue growing healthy and strong. He recently celebrated his first birthday with his first bites of pizza and cake. The family marvels at how normal his first year has been thanks to the effort of the team of Kid Experts at Children’s Minnesota.

Neonatology is the focus of this year’s Children’s Minnesota Star Gala. For nearly 30 years, the Twin Cities philanthropic community has come together to raise millions of dollars for the nonprofit, which relies on generous donors to make possible the life-changing programs at Children’s Minnesota.

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