Just as every child is unique in their family, every birth is different. When Kathryn arrived at the Obstetrics department at Headwaters Health Care Centre to deliver her third child, she knew what to expect, already having two healthy children born at Headwaters six and twelve years ago, respectively.
Things were progressing according to her birth plan, and she chose an epidural. But when Dr. Umeh, a trusted obstetrician who had delivered one of her girls, arrived as scheduled to break her water, Kathryn knew there was something terribly wrong when she saw the tremendous rush of fluid.
Immediately assessing the situation as a cord prolapse, Dr. Umeh urged Kathryn to go to the Operation Room right away. With nurse Kaitlyn holding the cord, which was still pulsating with life, and nurses Nancy and Lindsey by her side reassuring her all the way, the emotional journey up to the OR was quickly arranged. During the short wait outside of the OR, Kathryn was worried about losing her baby’s heartbeat. However, the nurses found it, and then it was time for the emergency C-section.
Blue sheets went up in a hurry. The OB and OR team members moving deftly at work by her side, in fast-paced lock step. Dr. Umeh lightly pinching Kathryn’s belly to test if she could feel the pressure.
“Everything was happening so fast. I could feel what was happening, and I was scared. But we had to get the baby out,” recalled Kathryn. “I kept looking at Dr. Umeh, and he reassured me. The nurses were all calm, so I wasn’t panicking. I didn’t need to worry. Everything was going to be OK – I just knew it.”
The anesthesiologist arrived, giving her gas and when she woke up, Makenna was born, her heart beat strong and steady. Makenna was brought to mom right away for skin-on-skin contact, a well-researched action that benefits the baby and mother in several ways.
After the delivery, Dr. Umeh returned to Kathryn often to check up on her health. “I was so hopeful because this was a traumatic birth. Dr. Umeh was so kind.”
Looking back, Kathryn describes the emergency C-section as stressful and scary to both her and husband, who never before heard of a cord prolapse and its rare occurrence. A cord prolapse is when the umbilical slips out before the baby descends into the birth canal. The risk is that the pressure on the cord from the baby’s weight in utero could restrict blood supply to the baby.
“I made the right choice to give birth at Headwaters,” says Kathryn, expressive with thanks to the team who stayed by her side the whole time. “I was never left wondering if everything would be alright. They were right there to reassure me. The focus was all on me, and that’s how I should feel as a patient and a new mom. This is my health team; they did a great job.”
Learn more about inspiring patient care by reading the Headwaters 2022 - 2023 Annual Report.