Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Worst Night of my Nursing Career

This is not a happy ending kind of story, so beware.

Sunday November 25, 2007 I had the worst night of my nursing career. I came to work, and a mother was in labor, and was getting ready to go to an emergency C-Section because she had been pushing for 2 hours and no progress was being made. I was supposed to be the Med/Surg Charge nurse, but since the L&D nurse was new to our hospital (but a very experienced L&D RN), I tagged along to help her find stuff. Baby was born at 7:20 pm, without a heart beat and not breathing. We resuscitated the baby, and finally go to the point where he, his name is Curt, had a heart beat of 140's and a respiratory rate of 50's, both normal. But still had made NO movement at all. No cry, not even moved a finger. His pupils where pinpoint. The left was slightly reactive, and the right didn't react at all, which possibly lead us to believe he had some kind of neurological damage or defect.

We took the baby warmer he was under into the PACU (post anesthesia care unit, recovery room) so she could see him and touch him while we waited for the transport team to drive (the weather was too crappy for them to fly) down from Spokane to take him to the NICU at Sacred Heart Medical Center. Once the mom started touching him and talking to Curt, he started moving a little, and even opened his eyes several times. AMAZING! Despite us attempting 3 IV's, intubating him, deep suctioning him, and trying to stimulate him to breathe, he never once made a single movement. Until he heard his mom's voice! That is when I couldn't hold back the tears any more, and cried.

The transport team arrived at 9:15pm, and took them 2 hours to get him ready for transport, but he was no where near stable. He was in very critical condition. If he lived, he may easily be a vegetable.

At 1:15am, probably only an hour of Curt being up in Spokane and having lots of tests done, the neonatologist called the mother and told her that Curt was not going to make it, and the they would keep him alive long enough to get her up there, but that she needed to come now. I made some calls, and by 2:15am she was in the ambulance being transported up to be with her baby and husband who left shortly after the transport team left.

At 6:12am prior to me leaving for the end of my shift, I got a call from the NICU Charge nurse, saying that they where waiting for the father's mother to arrive, then take him off life support, but she didn't make it. Curt died at 6:06am in his mother's arms. My patient, Curt's mom, was able to get up there, and be with her baby for his last 3 hours of life.

She is very religious, not of my faith, but said to a friend prior to her leaving for Spokane, that her baby was going to be with Jesus. So I pray that her faith will get her through it. She is 26 years old and it was their first baby. I am so gratefulfor the Plan of Salvation, and know that she will be reunited with Curt again someday. But my heart still aches for her. I am grateful for small miracles, in times of sadness. The fact that Curt responded to his mother's voice and touch despite all the uncomfortable procedures we had to do to him, is a miracle. I will be forever changed by this experience.


Munster and Web said...

It takes a very strong person to do the job you do. I am glad we have people like you. I hope and pray that his family is okay.
The Smith's

Shannon B said...

This is such a sad and touching story! You are so strong to get through it. I don't know the mom, but she is my age and I will be thinking about her and praying for her. No one should have to go through that. She will be blessed though. Thanks for the post.

The Kay Family said...

WOW. I always loved to talk "nurse" with you, but this story breaks my heart. That could have been any of us young mothers! My prayers are with you, Danielle, to find strength and peace, and to the mother as well.

Bowles said...

All I can say is WOW. Only in your profession can you see the awesome power of life and death at work in the same moment. My heart aches for the young mother and father. The faith of that mother is amazing and inspiring. The plan of salvation IS in place. The Lord knows what he is doing. Thanks for sharing.