OB Emergency, the Harris Family Story

Father recounts the day that Sacred Heart doctors saved his newborn’s life.

A soon-to-be, fourth-time mom, Holly Harris planned to have natural childbirth like her previous deliveries. On April 19 when she went into labor, a rare medical condition took her birth plan off course. Holly was admitted to the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart for labor and delivery complications. As Holly’s labor progressed, obstetrician Shane Medlock, MD, quickly realized that the baby’s umbilical cord had slipped out of the birthing canal. This rare medical condition, called umbilical cord prolapse, only happens in one percent of all births. An umbilical cord prolapse can cutoff oxygen supply to the fetus and cause significant danger unless immediate interventions take place. Holly’s delivery was further complicated by the baby’s changing position in the womb. Now the baby was breech, coming feet first.

Fortunately for Holly, the team at Sacred Heart is always prepared for OB emergencies like these. Sacred Heart has the area’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for the most critically ill and premature newborns, and the area’s only OB Emergency Department.

In a Facebook post that praised the outstanding medical care his wife received, Holly’s husband, Jake, recounts the chain of events that took place during the delivery:
“The amazing staff at the OB Labor & Delivery were just going through the normal ‘everyday’ when something went very wrong with our delivery,” he wrote. “Dr. Medlock recognized the issue and gave the order, and just like that the nurses came out of everywhere and it was like they were a SWAT team that were coming into rescue hostages! They all knew their part and did it with lightning speed!”

While a nurse used her hands to keep pressure off the umbilical cord, another set of nurses rushed Holly into the operating room on a gurney. Amidst the flurry of activity, Dr. Medlock stopped briefly to explain to Jake what was happening.

“I’m a 10-year combat veteran and I have never felt more vulnerable in my life,” said Jake, a day after his wife’s delivery. “When Dr. Medlock spoke to me, I felt a sense of peace come over me. I knew God had his hands on them.” He added, “From the time Holly went into labor to the time their daughter, Haven Lynne, was born via emergency Cesarean section was a span of just six minutes.”

Holly said most of the day is still a blur. “I remember feeling very scared before I was put under anesthesia,” who now shares her birthday with her daughter. “When I woke up I saw Jake holding Haven. I felt a sense of relief when I held Haven skin to skin.”

In his Facebook post, Jake adds, “Sometimes, in the fog of what is going on in our own life we overlook the ones that have made our life possible and I just wanted to take a few minutes and truly thank the staff at this hospital for making the life of my beautiful baby Haven Lynne Harris possible. This is just the ‘everyday’ for them, but they had my everything!”

Although Holly’s birth plan didn’t go as expected, she’s grateful she has a healthy baby girl. Holly and Haven were discharged from Sacred Heart Hospital four days later and returned home, now a family of six.

If you are expecting, take a tour of our Obstetrics and Maternity Services at Sacred Heart. For more information about our childbirth and parenting education classes, tours or support groups, please call 850-416-6378.