This story begins at 11:15 p.m. on August 4, 2016. I wake up and realize that I am bleeding. I am only 32 weeks pregnant.
I wake my husband, who (thank goodness!) is home as he works night shift and this was his night off.
We frantically locate the number to the birthing center at Gifford Medical Center and are advised to head to nearest hospital.
We wake up our 10 year and head out the door to Central Vermont Medical Center.
At CVMC, I check into the ER and head straight to the birthing center. I am quickly assessed, an IV is placed, and the doctor arrives. Much to our relief, the fetal monitor shows no distress.
I knew when I arrived at CVMC, I would be sent to the UVM Medical Center given the gestation of our baby. What I didn’t know was that they would call for the UVM Health Network Critical Care Transport Team.
This made my situation sink in and realize the potential gravity of it all.
Critical Care Transport Team
Sometime after midnight or 1 a.m., four men with a stretcher arrive to take me to Burlington. They all introduce themselves (although I can’t remember their names) and get a report on my condition.
I am transferred to the stretcher with care and wrapped up warmly and tightly. I felt safe, but still scared out of my mind.
We enter the ambulance. I was struck by the amount of technology and comfort I was surrounded by. Since I was fairly stable, I jokingly said to the two men in the back, “The only thing missing is a TV.”
On the ride to Burlington, I barely took notice of the thunder and lightning storm outside. I learned that one of the attendants in the back with me moonlighted in the NICU. Again, more relief on my end. The other gentleman was on his final day of training, but clearly competent and willing to seek guidance. I was monitored for contractions, the baby was monitored for a stable heart rate, my IV fluids and vital signs were watched closely.
Arriving at the hospital and going straight to labor and delivery with laughter, reassurance, competence, and security was what made my transport in my time of crisis so special. The team handed me off to a nurse on duty, we bid goodbye with sincere wishes for a safe and healthy delivery.
They were my angels in the night, I am so grateful to have met them.
Birthing Center, Mother-Baby Unit, and NICU Team
The team on labor and delivery was simply amazing. Every nurse, every medical student, every resident, every attending, and even the fellow were simply amazing. Accommodations for my husband were made as comfortable as they could be. Despite the serious medical situation we faced, I was still encouraged to be in control of my care. Emily was born on August 11 in the middle of the night via vaginal birth after cesarean. The team helped make this part of my birth plan come true. This team is also responsible for saving my life; the bleeding wouldn’t stop after she was born. I was rushed to the operating room down the hall and came out whole and well.
The mother and baby team ensured that I got quickly back to labor and delivery every time there was a setback before delivery (I was moved back and forth at least three times due to my condition) and took wonderful care of me after delivery.
The NICU team — what do you say about the people who care for your baby when you can’t? They were responsible for showing me how to breastfeed a premature baby, and they stood by and encouraged my husband and me to care for Emily’s needs. They helped us to the window to show Emily to her sister. We witnessed them caring for the sickest of babies with incredible skill and compassion.
The UVM Medical Center was where we needed to be and we are so grateful for the care we received. We will never be able to say thank you enough.
Amanda Mills-Brown is a Vermont mother. She is proud mom to Amelia and Emily.