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Francie's Story

Chapter 4: Scratch That - Plans Have Changed

Thursday, June 15, Laura woke up with her entire body feeling itchy for the second day in a row. As we sat in triage at Mary Birch, we were introduced to the term cholestasis, a condition in pregnancy where bile from the mom’s liver slows or stops. The result: limited concerns for mom, increased risk of fetal distress and demise for Francie.

“We’d like you to induce today.”

Weeks of planning evaporated.

As we left triage to go to a last EKG appointment, the Labor & Delivery floor was slow. 

“We’re going to coordinate with your teams while you’re gone. I’m confident we’ll be ready to go this evening,” the attending said.

Another successful appointment: Francie was holding steady. Her heart was still shrouded in complications, but she had already beaten the odds getting this far. Our plan was changing, but she was technically to term!

We scrambled to pack, make calls to grandparents to change travel plans, and find time to make the ever-important trip to fuel up at Martiza’s Tacos. We had a new plan!

Hours later, we were informed by a scheduling coordinator that Labor & Delivery had surged. There was no room. We were on standby. We could drive to the hospital around 1:30 a.m. to hang out in the lobby, but there were no promises.

“If we induce at one-thirty, will we still have time to deliver with our full team?” I asked.

“Maybe if you scheduled a C-section,” was the response.

Now we were headed into a holiday weekend, about to lose our team of familiar faces, or at least that’s how it felt.

We did not wait. We packed our bags and drove to the hospital, ready to bust down the L&D doors. After weeks of planning, we were not going to leave this plan up to a hospital scheduler.

Upon arrival, we found ourselves in front of the doctor on call and the Labor & Delivery supervisor. They understood our situation was unique. In fact, almost everywhere we went, and everyone we spoke with already knew our case and what we were up against.

This is where I want to pause and acknowledge how amazing every single medical professional has been, almost without exception. These two women weren’t part of our plan, but they were critical in helping us adjust. They sat with us, they were patient, they were accommodating, they helped us understand that the teams we needed would still come.

While they didn’t have the nursing team to admit us, they did have an empty L&D suite to put us in, so we unpacked and slept until they were ready. This is one of many examples where red tape was cut to help give Francie the best chance to thrive.

We caught a few hours of sleep before getting assigned to a nurse as the sun peeked through the big window in our delivery suite. Laura was induced at 6 a.m.! It’s go time.

Dad Lesson #4: Nothing goes according to plan. Take a big breath and adjust.

Written by
Michael Anderson
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