Mirna J Special Deliveries

“I had seen other doctors, and they had all asked why I was a teen mom.... But Dr. Bucek was so comforting.... He wasn’t judgmental.”

Mirna Juarez first met John Bucek, MD, in 2000 when she was 17. She was just months from being able to vote—and from becoming a mother. “I was very stressed,” she recalls. “At that age, you know absolutely nothing, and you get scared about everything.”

John Bucek, MD
John Bucek, MD

She had come to Dr. Bucek, a board-certified family medicine physician with Somerset Family Practice at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Somerset and a member of the RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group, seeking pregnancy care but found something else as well: compassion.

“He was so good!” she recalls. “I had seen other doctors, and they had all asked why I was a teen mom. They accused me of not having enough sex education. But Dr. Bucek was so comforting. He just asked questions like if I knew how long I had been pregnant and if this was my first pregnancy. He wasn’t judgmental.”

It was the start of a doctor-patient bond that would last longer—and through more pregnancies—than either of them imagined.

A Long-Term Relationship

Dr. Bucek handled Mirna’s prenatal visits, and seven months later delivered a healthy baby boy, Alexis. Mirna was thrilled that Dr. Bucek provides comprehensive care for all ages, so he could also be primary care doctor for her and her new son.

“My goal is to make sure everything is OK for everybody in the family,” says Dr. Bucek, who is also a senior faculty member at RWJUH Somerset’s Family Medicine Residency Program.

Over the next four years, Mirna and Alexis saw Dr. Bucek for matters ranging from routine checkups to sick visits. Then, when Mirna was 21 in 2004, she and her future husband were delighted when she became pregnant a second time. “I made sure to take care of Mirna’s prenatal care and let her know I was there for her,” says Dr. Bucek.

As Mirna went into labor, she headed again to the Maternity Pavilion at RWJUH Somerset, where her son Alan made his healthy debut. His proud parents couldn’t have asked for more, except for one thing: “I thought it would also be nice to have a girl,” Mirna remembers.

Almost a decade passed before she tried. Mirna divorced and remarried in 2012, and her new husband, Luis, had no offspring of his own but was interested in having a child together. One year later, Mirna got her wish for a girl when Dr. Bucek delivered her daughter Alison. “He joked that I was very brave, since I already had my hands full with Alexis and Alan,” she says with a grin.

Growing Their Family

Dr. Bucek and Luis holding babiesMirna and Luis decided to expand their family further five years later. “This time, after I had been in labor for five hours, I was in a lot of pain,” Mirna says. She came to appreciate how the Maternity Pavilion has an on-site anesthesiologist dedicated to obstetrics available 24/7. “Dr. Bucek convinced me to have an epidural,” Mirna says. “He told me I would suffer less, and labor would be faster.”

The injection blocked pain in her lower body, and within a half hour, she gave birth to daughter Ainhoa. “Dr. Bucek said, ‘That’s a nice family,’” Mirna says. “I think he thought I was done.”

In 2021, she and Luis decided to have just one more baby. She paid Dr. Bucek a prenatal visit in October that surprised them both. “He looked at the ultrasound screen and said, ‘Oh, you’re having twins!’” she says.

Carrying two babies was difficult for Mirna, who works as a stockroom technician. “By six and a half months, my feet had become so swollen, I could hardly walk,” she says. Dr. Bucek put her on bed rest and checked her and the babies with frequent ultrasounds.

On June 20, 2022, Amanda Canova, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist at RWJUH Somerset, assisted by Dr. Bucek, performed Mirna’s only cesarean section delivery, and twins Layla and Luis Jr. came into the world. “Dr. Canova performed the procedure, but I scrubbed in for it,” Dr. Bucek says.

He is proud of his long history of caring for Mirna and her family, with Luis Sr. now his patient as well. “It’s fun for both Mirna and me that she’s had one doctor for five pregnancies and six babies,” Dr. Bucek says.

When Alexis, now 20, visited the hospital following the twins’ birth, he and Dr. Bucek posed for a picture, each holding one baby. Dr. Bucek treasures the photo. “I feel that it symbolizes the circle of life,” he says.

Exceptional Maternity Care

The Maternity Pavilion at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Somerset received a 5-star rating from Healthgrades for clinical outcomes in vaginal and cesarean-section births in the organization’s 2022 quality ratings. It’s the seventh year in a row that the hospital received a 5-star rating—Healthgrades’ highest designation of excellence—for C-section deliveries and the second year in a row for a 5-star rating for vaginal deliveries. Expectant women and new mothers benefit from a wide range of services at the pavilion, including:

  • Somerset Family Practice, a center on the RWJUH Somerset campus providing obstetrical and family care
  • The Diabetes Center, offering comprehensive pregnancy and postpartum counseling
  • A Labor and Delivery Unit with seven private rooms, two operating rooms and a recovery room for C-sections
  • Obstetrician-gynecologists available 24/7
  • Midwife services
  • A dedicated anesthesiologist available 24/7
  • A postpartum unit with 20 private, modern rooms and sleep-in arrangements for a primary support person
  • Maternal-fetal medicine staff and perinatologist
  • Lactation consultation for inpatient/outpatient visits
  • Postpartum and infant-care classes for inpatients
  • A Level II NICU with a 24/7 board-certified neonatologist and highly trained nurses

Take a virtual tour of the Maternity Pavilion at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset.