Posted by Divya Sathyanarayanan
Leah Singh, a healthy mom, was excited to welcome her sixth child. As a labor and delivery (L&D) nurse at our hospital, Leah has supported several moms during their delivery and she was confident about her own delivery. “In my five years of experience as a nurse, I have learned about the birthing process and I know what to expect while giving birth,” says the 41-year old. But things didn’t go as expected for her.
Leah was 33 weeks pregnant. After finishing her shift for the day, Leah was back home and relaxing. “Suddenly, I noticed that the baby did not move as much. As an L&D nurse, I understood that decreased fetal movement may be a sign of fetal distress. So I immediately called the nurse on the L&D floor and she asked me to come to the hospital,” she says.
After being admitted, Leah and her baby were constantly monitored by the nurses. The baby’s fetal heart rate was a concern for her care team. Leah suffered from a condition called preeclampsia—a pregnancy complication where expectant mothers develop high blood pressure and other symptoms such as swelling of the face, hands, or feet which is dangerous for the mother as well as the baby’s health. “My blood pressure was elevated. Dr. Kaiser, my OB-GYN, ordered tests and blood work immediately. When the results came, the doctor decided that it was necessary to perform an emergency C-section, despite the fact that it was only 33 weeks. Having known Dr. Kaiser for some time, I really trust her judgement and knew that I was in good hands,” explains Leah.
During the delivery, Leah lost a lot of blood due to placental abruption—a condition where the placenta separates from the walls of the womb. She was given multiple blood transfusions in the operating room and recovery room. “Dr. Kaiser, Dr. Menor (the anesthesiologist), and the nurses worked as a team and never left her side,” says Aurora Gumamit, DNP, CNS, Clinical Education Specialist for Women’s Health.
Leah’s baby did not cry immediately when he came out. “I was an emotional wreck when I didn’t hear him cry. The doctors and nurses talked to me and gave confidence that they are doing everything to save my baby. Dr. Kaiser also stayed with me in the recovery room to make sure I was fine. Everyone went above and beyond what I expected,” explains Leah.
Leah’s baby was born premature or too early (before 37 weeks of pregnancy). But Leah was confident that her baby would be safe in our highly specialized NICU, staffed by renowned neonatologists from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and specially trained experts. “NICU team ensured that the baby received the best care possible. They were very patient and diligent, even though I called them several times during the day to inquire about my baby’s health,” she says.
Leah gave birth by herself during the coronavirus pandemic, but she wasn’t alone. “My husband had to stay home to take care of our other kids. The nurses and doctors cared for me and treated me like a family member. Like angels, they were all around me and watching over me. This really took the stress out of giving birth alone,” she remembers.
Post-delivery, Leah stayed in our hospital for five days. Even though she had delivered five kids before, Leah valued all the instructions and baby care tips she received during those five days. “Although I have breastfed five kids, the lactation consultant provided more tips so I could breastfeed better,” she says.
Leah delivered her babies at different hospitals, but she is confident that she made the correct decision to choose CHA HPMC to welcome her sixth baby. “This was a very different delivery experience. My baby and I are safe today only due to the prompt response of the doctors, nurses, and NICU team,” she says, thanking them for the life-saving care.
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