Erin Bailey’s little girl wasn’t due for seven weeks. But she and her husband, Chris, decided a quick trip to the hospital was a good idea since Erin was feeling some pain and was supposed to fly out of town.
“I drove down to the hospital thinking we were going to be there for just a couple of minutes,” Erin said. “But after they did a couple of tests, it turned out that I was ruptured, and that I was leaking amniotic fluid.”
At that point Erin was admitted to the Regions Hospital.
“They couldn’t tell I was having contractions. The machine wasn’t picking it up because it was all back labor,” Erin said.
Once she was admitted, and being fully monitored, Erin’s care team realized she was in active labor.
“When I came into triage, I was not dilated at all. I was at a zero. But within a couple of hours I was a four. And then I was a 10,” she said.
Baby Frances is born premature
Erin and Chris’ daughter Frances was born at 6:07 a.m., less than 10 hours after what they thought was a precautionary trip to the hospital.
“Erin’s story is a great example of how things don’t always go according to plan,” said Katie Krumwiede, MD, a HealthPartners OB-GYN who delivers babies at Regions Hospital.
Preterm, or premature, births are anything shy of 37 weeks. “About 12 percent of babies are born premature,” Dr. Krumwiede said. “It’s not a very common thing, but it’s not terribly uncommon either.”
For Erin and Chris, it was scary. They said what helped was how quickly the situation was explained to them.
“There was such an effort to make sure that I had all the information I needed, which is a real challenge when you are in labor,” Erin said with a laugh. “I think that the team did a wonderful job of making sure we had all the information that we could possibly have based on what was going on at the time.”
Any time there is a risk of premature birth, a team from the Special Care Nursery is called in. They discuss what could happen and what is typical for a baby being born at this age. And they are in the room during delivery.
“This is one of the real strengths of the Regions Hospital Birth Center,” said Dr. Krumwiede. “Even when things don’t go as planned, we have everyone and everything we need to make sure that things go smoothly.”
One of things important to Erin was holding her baby after she was born, and she was able to discuss that with her care team.
“In Erin’s case, her baby came out kicking and screaming, which is exactly what we want,” said Dr. Krumwiede.
“Frances is a real stud,” Erin said cracking a smile. “She’s a champ. She came out breathing on her own. I got to hold her for about five minutes. It was amazing.”
Now there were two patients
“Then the team took Frances back. And Chris left with her, too,” Erin said.
Chris watched as baby Frances was put into an incubator and taken to the Special Care Nursery. “I sort of ran with the baby,” Chris said.
“I became second fiddle very quickly,” Erin joked.
For mom and dad, this was a terrifying thing to experience. “I mean, you are excited that she is here, but you are wishing that she would have come seven weeks later,” Chris said.
What Chris saw next, assured him that his little girl was getting the care she needed.
“These folks had it. They knew exactly what was going on. There was no fear on their part,” Chris recalled. “They were moving quickly, but with so much care. It made me think, ‘They love this child almost as much as I do.’ And that’s exactly what you want.”
Happy and healthy
“I think our biggest metric early on was getting her fat,” Erin said while smiling at Frances. “And we have successfully accomplished that. She’s a little chunk.”
Frances spent eight days in the Special Care Nursery. She learned how to control her own body temperature. She learned how to eat without her feeding tube. And she worked to stop scaring her mom and dad by holding her breath.
Today, Frances is a happy and healthy baby girl, only with an April birthday instead of one in June.
“A patient might be thinking about how they want a situation to go, but when it doesn’t go that way, Regions Hospital can help people get through it and still have an amazing birth experience,” Dr. Krumwiede said.
“I know that so many of the actions of providers at Regions were not part of their job descriptions, but we were very grateful. The care was incredible,” Erin said.