A mom’s story: Dawn Ellington

Everything didn’t quite go as expected for Dawn Ellington when she gave birth to William on December 1, 2011. But as she reports in her grateful retelling of the story, everything went just fine.

Baby William was due December 29, but I began having bouts of high blood pressure the first week of November. I needed a few days of bed rest then, and again the week before Thanksgiving. At that point, we went through all of the blood work and testing, and everything appeared to be okay.

But by the day after Thanksgiving, I had begun to see bright white spots floating constantly through my vision. On Tuesday, November 29, I went in for a doctor appointment and non-stress test. The baby looked great, but my blood pressure had soared to 198/108.

I was immediately directed by my OB, Dr. Amy Moon, to check in at St.Vincent Carmel Hospital for a 24-hour stay. My blood work was again great. So the wait began for the 24-hour urine collection. Noon to noon. By four o’clock the next day, everyone was ready for me to go home. The nursing staff was just sure my study would come back okay, and so was I.

But that wasn’t the case.

My protein level was over 3700. (They told me above 2000 was considered severe.) I was immediately ushered back to bed, and so began the induction. Monitors on the baby, monitors on me, restricted to bed with a bedside commode, antibiotics (because the results of my group b strep weren’t back yet), Magnesium Sulfate drip and fluids. I was given Cervadil was immediately, and Pitocin 12 hours later.

I labored until noon, at which time I had an epidural to help manage my pain and blood pressure. By 1:30, I was not doing any better and baby William had begun to show signs of stress. They placed internal monitors on him and checked my progress. I had begun to regress (80% effaced and 5 cm to 40% effaced and 4cm). So my amazing nurse Missy made every attempt to get things going in the right direction again.

An hour later, all her efforts proved to be fruitless. She came to me and told me there was nothing else she could do but call my doctor and ask her to come immediately. She also told me that a C-section was the only solution left. She asked me if I was okay signing the paperwork prior to my doctor arriving to expedite the process. I felt very comfortable knowing that she had done everything she could.

When my doctor arrived (18 minutes after the call went out), she seemed extremely hopefully that there were numerous things that could still be done to avoid a C-section. So she began to ask Missy to do item A, but Missy had already done it. She suggested item B, but again Missy had already done that. My doc went thru a list of about six things, all of which had already been done. She was super-impressed with Missy—very grateful that Missy had not called her away from her patients unnecessarily.

So the process got underway, and baby William was brought into this world at 3:30 p.m. via emergency C-section at exactly 36 weeks gestation. He was 5 lb, 7 oz and 19 inches long. He passed his NICU screen and was released to our room.

I certainly didn’t expect my baby to come into the world the way he did, and I think attending the Lamaze class at St.Vincent Women’s Hospital helped ease the way through what could have been a very stressful turn of events. My husband, Mark, and I both want to thank Sharon Johns, RN for teaching the class. We both have told numerous family and friends about how reassuring she was; that it was okay if everything did not go according to plan. During the last class, Sharon used flip cards to get us all thinking about which things we would be willing to change. In the end, my two things were a healthy baby and my doctor. As it turned out, only three things did not change: I never took IV pain medicines, we had a healthy baby and my OB delivered William.

Thank you, Sharon Johns!. We thought of class every time something else happened. We kept thinking that in the end, everything would be okay, and it was. We are truly grateful to you and the wonderful job you did with our class. And thank you to the wonderful staff at St.Vincent Carmel — Mary, Missy, Michelle, Laura and Jamie. We will be eternally grateful for the wonderful care you provided during our stay.

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