As the old saying goes, a little knowledge is dangerous. Well let me tell you that even more knowledge had me almost pushing the nurse’s call bell to ask the anesthesiologist to come up and numb me from my labor pains. Even though I was a grand mom in waiting at the time, my thrill and anticipation to finally see my granddaughter did not squash my thoughts of potential fetal distress and hypoxic encephalopathy (HIE), meconium aspiration, placental abruption, prolonged rupture of membranes, prolapsed umbilical cord, neonatal sepsis or cerebral palsy. It is just the nature of the beast when you are a nurse that has worked in an emergency room, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), labor and delivery (L & D) unit and now, a legal nurse consultant for the Beasley Law Firm. You may be able to take grandma out of the hospital, but you can not take the hospital out of “Gammy”.
My story begins when the little princess was just a bit too comfortable in the womb and post date so the doctors decided to induce labor. I was happy about that. First, the doctors inserted the medication to soften the cervix. OK, that worked. Next, they ruptured her membranes. Great, I thought, here come the contractions. Well, the princess had other plans. No steady contractions so the doctor ordered Pitocin, a medication to help the uterus contract. 10 cc’s later; there were still no regular contractions. 20 cc’s later a few more contractions. 30 cc’s of Pitocin and the uterine tetany and hyperstimulation of the uterus set in. Within 3 minutes of the nurses realizing this problem, they were in the room and turned the Pitocin down and the contractions slowed down.
After the uterus calmed down a bit, the Pitocin was once again slowly increased. This time, the contractions were spaced apart enough and it allowed the baby to fully relax in between contractions. I was relieved at that point because I review so many fetal monitor strips where the mother was having hyperstimulation of the uterus or uterine hypertony and nothing was done about it.
As the labor progressed into its 20 or 30th hour, I lost tract because I was fixed on watching the fetal monitor strips for any fetal distress, there was finally a cervical change. Throughout the induction of labor I did see two times where the baby’s heart rate dropped but it was nothing significant or prolonged. She never had prolonged decelerations, bradycardia or a loss of variability.
Finally, after 36 hours of labor, my granddaughter was born kicking, screaming and with the APGAR scores of 9 and 9. She was not blue or limp and cried immediately after birth. I give a huge credit to the nurses and doctors that took care of my daughter during her prolonged labor. She could not have had better care and I could not be more proud to watch such an educated, compassionate and dedicated labor and delivery team. If all mothers that are in labor receive this type of care, I would be out of a job.
All that worrying for nothing….until the day after she was born and her skin looked a little yellow or jaundiced. Once again, my NICU nurse thoughts started up again. Is her bilirubin level too high? Will she need bili lights or a Wallaby blanket? If her bilirubin level gets too high will she develop kernicterus or permanent brain damage? All that worrying was for nothing. Her bilirubin level was not that high and started to come down one day after birth.
Thankfully, my daughter’s labor and delivery was uneventful and turned out fine and I have a beautiful and healthy grand daughter. Unfortunately, sometimes due to negligence of a doctor, nurse midwife or nurse practitioner something can go very wrong during labor and delivery and the baby is born with fetal distress, permanent brain damage and seizures. If you had a difficult labor and delivery or your baby was born after a prolonged labor and now has cerebral palsy or developmental delays, you may be eligible for compensation.
Please feel free to contact one of our experienced birth injury lawyers, doctors or nurses for a strictly confidential and free consultation. Our experienced birth malpractice teams consist of physicians, neonatal intensive care (NICU) and delivery room nurses who have actually cared for women in labor and critically ill newborns. To date, we have obtained over $2 billion in awards on behalf of our injured clients and have two of the largest medical malpractice verdicts in Pennsylvania history.
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