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image: Methodist nurses step up to help family manage the unexpected

Methodist nurses step up to help family manage the unexpected

Laura Peterson’s father-in-law had a stroke the same day her daughter was born – and they ended up in the same hospital at the same time. Here she tells her story.


November 14, 2017

     


Dedicated to the nurses on 3W. Thank you for your love and support. You are truly an amazing group of people!

On Aug. 12, 2017, I delivered a baby girl, Mila Ann, at Methodist Hospital Family Birth Center. As a former Methodist employee, it was great to be greeted by familiar faces and cared for by awesome nurses and midwives. Going into my labor, I told myself, “Be flexible because nothing ever goes as planned.”

Thankfully, the birth went amazingly. Mila came out screaming and a couple hours later I thought, “Wow, everything went according to, and even better than my plan!”

I didn’t realize what was ahead later that evening.

The happiest day of my life turns into one of the worst

Around 8 p.m., we got a call from my husband Matt’s mom. We are very close with his parents, and Matt considers his dad one of his best friends. Being parents of three boys, they were both so excited to come meet the first Peterson girl!

Matt’s dad had been playing in a golf tournament that day and was going to come to the hospital after the banquet. The phone call we got from his mom, however, was not to arrange a time to come visit.

She told us that Matt’s dad was in an ambulance on the way to Methodist with stroke symptoms. Our hearts sank, but we remained hopeful that maybe it wasn’t anything serious.

Unfortunately, we were wrong. His dad suffered a stroke and was admitted to the second floor of the ICU.

Matt spent the evening our baby was born with his family in the ER and ICU. I was so overwhelmed with emotion. Suddenly the happiest day of my life was turning into one of the worst. I kept thinking, “This isn’t how it was supposed to be! He should be here with me and our new family!”

The next day, Matt’s dad was making improvements and we were hopeful about his recovery. Karen Skoog was my nurse that day. She was amazing in teaching us about strokes and recovery, as well as helping me get rest. She put up a “Do not disturb” sign on the door and we were able to have a relatively restful day after a sleepless night.

My daughter meets her grandfather

Around 4 a.m. on Aug. 14, Matt got a call from the ICU. His father was experiencing swelling of the brain that was greater than anticipated, and was now intubated and sedated. Matt was left waiting anxiously for his family to arrive, while I was once again alone in our room with our new baby. I don’t think I have ever felt so alone in my life. I was overwhelmed with not only sleep deprivation and postpartum hormones, but now with fear and deep sadness, while at the same time joy about our beautiful baby. I felt guilty about being happy, and I felt guilty about being sad. There was just so much conflict in knowing how to feel or what to think. After spending a few minutes alone, I went out to the desk and broke down in the charge nurse’s arms.

Matt came up in tears shortly after he got in touch with his mom. It was looking questionable as to whether or not his dad would survive, so he asked if he could take Mila down to take a picture with her grandpa. At that point, I really broke down. I was not in an emotional state to see my father-in-law holding my newborn baby. But the nurses were incredible. A few offered to escort Matt and Mila down to the ICU to get a picture, and another, Vicky Phillips, offered to stay with me.

Methodist Hospital nurses go above and beyond

I can’t begin to explain how meaningful it was to me that I was surrounded by such amazing nurses during this dark time. If I would have delivered at any other hospital, I know that I would not have had that support. Karen, Vicky and the other nurses all went beyond their duty as nurses to support my family.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to do our job, and that people trust us in these times of need,” Karen said when asked about her experience with us during this time. “Being able to give the best possible care in happy and tragic times is special. It’s what feeds us as nurses and why we’re all in this profession.”

Even though Mila’s birth itself went according to plan, I realized that nothing in life ever goes exactly as planned. At the same time, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for the incredible people on 3W who helped us get through such a bittersweet time.

Mila is our family’s little therapy baby

image: MGH blog Mila Ann Peterson

Mila Ann Peterson

Over the last several months, I’m happy to say that Matt’s father has been making great strides! Although he is having aphasia and isn’t able to verbalize all his thoughts, seeing the look in his eyes every time we take Mila to visit makes it perfectly clear how much he loves her. We now refer to her as a therapy baby!

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