An Angel in Scrubs

by Sue Timmons

Our first child was only 4 months old when I got pregnant with our second. When I was 7 months along, we had to move as my husband was active duty and was being sent to Cuba. Since my first pregnancy and delivery had been difficult, the military wouldn't let me be with him because Cuba didn't have the medical facilities to handle us. So, my babies and I went home to my parents.

The doctor who accepted our insurance was barely adequate. At 8 months he was still only seeing me once a month. When I told him I had been running a fever and vomiting for over a week, he replied the flu was going around and I probably had it. He then told me he'd see me next week at my scheduled appointment and hung up. Two days later, my parents rushed me to the hospital barely conscious. My blood pressure had sky rocketed and I was so swollen with fluids I couldn't wear clothes. I was fading in and out of consciousness. It turns out I hadn't had the flu, but severe Preeclampsia. By the time I was taken to the hospital, it had developed into full Eeclampsia. They told me later I was on the verge of death.

They attempted to stabilize me but I only worsened. At that time it was decided to take our baby, who was close to his due date anyway.

The doctor broke my water, stood up and smiled saying, "There. That should do it. Your contractions should start now and by suppertime (12 hours away) we'll have that little one out." He then took off his gloves and left, telling me, "I'm off for a cup of coffee and a few donuts. I'll see you later."

I went into hard labor immediately. My mom, an RN herself, was with me and ran off bringing back a young nurse. She actually paled when she examined me and realized the baby was crowning. They rushed me off to the delivery room and the doctor ran back in, scowling and out of breath. (They'd caught him in the parking lot getting into his car). Everyone gowned up and took their positions. A knock on the door caught all our attentions and there stood a very tall slim man in scrubs with very dark hair peeking out from under his cap and the most incredibly blue eyes showing over his mask. He introduced himself as a "visiting neonatal specialist" and asked if he could sit in. The doctor waved his hand and the new doctor took a position beside the doctor playing catch. I watched him and he suddenly looked up and winked at me, his face stretching into a wide smile behind his mask. My labor lasted only 45 minutes. My son was born blue and swollen. The doctor held him up announcing, "It's a boy!" not seeming to notice the condition of my son or the fact he wasn't breathing.

The specialist literally snatched him from the doctor's hands, leaving the doctor with a slightly bewildered look, then he shrugged and turned back to me.

I was stretching my neck, worried for my son. My mother followed the specialist and she told me, "He took the baby over to the heated table and began quickly working on him all the while talking, saying, 'C'mon. Breathe little one. Come on, I know it's hard but you can do it. Come on baby.'" Once my son let out a yowl, he stood back smiling then turned to my mom, who was gowned identically to the other nurses in the room and handed him to her, saying, "Ok Grandma, your turn to give him some loving."

My son was put into a special unit because he was born swollen as well and his little body wouldn't warm up like it should. We both spent the next 10 days in the hospital as other doctors worked on both of us. The doctor who I'd been seeing told us his job ended with the birth so the hospital assigned doctors for both my son and I. This time we lucked out and got excellent care.

When we were leaving the hospital, my mother and I tried to find out the name of the specialist who had saved my son's life. The hospital had no records of any neonatal specialist in residence or visiting and the nurse who assisted in the delivery insisted the only doctor who was there was the one who delivered. We told her, "No, the doctor with my son." She frowned and said, "There was no doctor with the baby." Then she looked puzzled as she said, "That's funny. There should have been someone with the baby but I don't remember anyone." No one remembered any other doctor but mine there and nowhere in the records was any doctor listed caring for my son until he was taken to Neo-ICU. That itself was strange since a pediatrician nearly always attends the birth to begin immediate care of the newborn.

My mother and I know that the neonatal specialist was an angel. He arrived just in time to save my son's life, he knew who was the grandmother even gowned and there was just something so calming and peaceful in his whole presence. When he winked at me during the delivery, I felt a sudden wave of calm and just knew everything would be ok. And it was, thanks to our Angel in Scrubs.

Inspiration for Story: David and his Rescue Angel