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Peninsula Regional Medical Center would like to feature occasional stories and articles about the experiences of PRMC patients and staff. This is the story of Gwenn Garland, a Salisbury mom and Peninsula Regional community relations specialist. If you have a story you'd like to share on the blog, call 410-749-7172 or email [email protected].I had a perfectly normal pregnancy: Every test came back normal; I was healthy, I even went into labor on my due date. Since this was to be my third child, I expected no surprises. It was supposed to be easy. So how did it all go wrong?
I had gone into labor in the early morning of Sunday, September 30, 2012. By 6 a.m., my contractions were the right amount of time apart for me to head to Peninsula Regional Medical Center. The Labor & Delivery nurses checked me out and agreed – everything looked fine, and the baby would be here soon. My husband and I listened to the steady, quick thrum of the baby’s heartbeat on the fetal monitor while we waited for my labor to advance to the pushing stage, and talked about what to name our third boy.
And then it happened. That steady pulse of the heartbeat on the monitor faltered. Slowed. And slowed more. It was fading — plummeting — stopping. I could hear my baby dying, right there inside of me.
Just as I had opened my mouth to scream for the nurses, they were already there, bustling me onto my side, explaining that sometimes the umbilical cord gets compressed, cutting off the baby’s blood supply; changing my position could help. In the meantime, they prepared an operating room for a stat c-section.
Moving onto my side helped a little; I could hear the heartbeat return, but it kept fading away again. There was no choice but an immediate caesarean birth. The Labor & Delivery staff rushed me into the OR faster than I ever believed was possible. I was amazed by their swift efficiency; not a second was wasted. Still, I couldn’t stop shaking from the fear that even this wouldn’t be fast enough, that this baby would be brain-damaged or lost altogether. Within what seemed like a few minutes after that dreadful sound of his heartbeat failing, the baby was out. Was he crying? I didn’t hear crying. The neonatal team was crowded around him as my obstetrician closed my incision.
There was a cry – I heard it. They put the baby next to my face for a moment, so I could see him – yes, he was alive, sweet, perfect; I kissed his little head – then they whisked him away again. “He’s OK,” they told me. “He’s going to be OK.”
I felt better: It was over. My baby was going to be fine. Everything was back to normal, right?
Next: In the NICU