Teacher April Chaulk and her husband Brockk had been waiting nine long months for their first child to arrive. The day came last year when little Baxter joined them in the Maternal Child Care Unit at the Prince County Hospital. At first, all seemed fine. This should have been the most joyous moment of April’s life. “Shortly after Baxter was born, he was placed on my chest for about 30 minutes and then I started to feel extremely weak and the nurse came and checked and I had hemorrhaged very, very badly.”
April was rushed to surgery to investigate the source of her bleeding. “I remember looking at my husband and Baxter, he was under the lights.” Baxter needed some time in the Infant Warmer (included in each of the private birthing suites), he also had a bit of jaundice that could be cleared up with UV lights, if needed (it wasn’t). “I remember leaving him and seven nurses rolled me down to the OR. I opened my eyes part way through and looked at the nurse and said, ‘am I going to be okay?’ and she said ‘We are going to get you back to your baby.’ At that moment I trusted her and closed my eyes.” Dr. Farag performed the surgery, completing a DNC, inflating a balloon and more in an attempt to get the bleeding to stop. April needed 4 units of blood to replace what she’d lost.
She thought she was out of the woods. After surgery, “I was in the ICU being monitored and they brought Bax down to see me. Everything seemed to go pretty well and that night they wanted me to rest so Bax stayed up with my husband in MCCU. How wonderful the nurses were, they said, ‘We are going to take care of him. We will feed him, don’t worry about it, if your husband needs help, we will be there.’ It helped me worry less because this is our first baby and my husband had never changed a diaper in his life. They assured me, ‘We have everything here and we have all of the doctors on hand to figure out what’s going on.”
The next day, with her levels steady, she was sent back to MCCU for further monitoring. “The following morning, I was holding Bax and I felt pretty weak and I put him down in his bassinet. I tried to eat a little breakfast and then I collapsed. I don’t remember what happened after that.”
April was still losing blood. While under constant care and surveillance, a battery of scans and tests were completed over the next five days. All told, April had lost 7 units of blood and there was concern about her history of ulcers. April was under the care of multiple departments and a variety of caregivers. “It was a godsend, the amount of people in charge of my care. I had the Lab, the nurses, doctors, the chaplain and a crisis worker – all checking on me. As terrified as I was to be all alone without my baby,” she says with a slight catch in her voice, “I had wraparound support from the staff. They were just as determined to get me home to my baby.” After treating her for ulcers as a precaution, April received a scope to confirm. The scope revealed an ulcer that showed signs of rupture. The source of her bleeding was found.
Her experience bringing her son into the world has left April grateful, inspired, and looking for a way to give back…to reciprocate the kind of care she received. That’s why she’s decided to show her appreciation with a gift that supports PCH, the staff and the patients for the long term. Her monthly gift ensures that when time is of the essence, PCH nurses and doctors have the tools they need to save moms like her.
You can join April with a monthly pledge to support your hospital.
Get started today by emailing Lisa Schurman-Smith or by calling her at (902) 432-2888.