Difficult Labor and Delivery Met with Excellent Care at Fort Sanders Regional
In summer 2021, Oakdale residents Jonathan and Amber Kirby were preparing to welcome their third child. However, Kirby’s pregnancy and delivery came in a scary and unexpected manner.
To her shock, her water broke when she was only 28 weeks along. Because Kirby required care from a hospital that specializes in high-risk obstetrics, she traveled by ambulance to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.
“It was scary,” Kirby recalls. “I was crushed that something might be wrong. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Her physician was Steven Andrade, MD, maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Fort Sanders Perinatal Center and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. “When the water breaks prematurely, this condition is called ‘PPROM,’ or preterm prelabor rupture of membranes,” Dr. Andrade explains.
“Women who develop PPROM often go on to have preterm labor and an eventual preterm birth, generally within 14 days from the time of rupture. However, Ms. Kirby had not labored after a two-week hospital stay, so she was discharged with orders for intense outpatient surveillance to try to prolong her pregnancy as long as possible to decrease the chance of newborn complications.”
Kirby says her bedside team could not have been better. “The nurses at Fort Sanders Regional are wonderful,” she recalls. “You can tell it’s not just a job to them. I am so glad I went there, I felt like they treated me like an actual person and not just another patient.”
After 11 days at home, some additional issues arose and Kirby returned to Fort Sanders Regional for observation and stayed another three weeks. On July 18, at just past 34 weeks to term, she gave birth to her baby boy. He weighed 4 pounds and 2 ounces.
Her baby was breech (in a position where the buttocks or feet are in place to come out first during birth, rather than a head-first delivery) when she went into labor. “Dr. Andrade gave me an option – I didn’t want a C-section if I could help it, so I had a breech vaginal delivery. Because I had had previous births and some other things, he felt it could be a successful option for me and it was.”
Empathy and Compassion
Dr. Andrade says, “I’m a proponent of a shared decision-making model. We decided to proceed with a rare vaginal delivery of her breech baby to avoid cesarean section and all of its inherent risks.
“Ms. Kirby was a great candidate for this type of delivery. She previously had vaginal deliveries, the size of the baby was not too big or too small, and the type of breech presentation her baby was in is known to be safe for vaginal delivery. The little’s one’s head was in the perfect position throughout her labor process.”
He emphasizes, “Breech vaginal deliveries are not common and only a few providers in East Tennessee offer them to select patients, under strict care guidelines and clinical settings. I cannot stress enough that a high degree of training is necessary to offer and safely provide breech vaginal delivery, and it should only be carried out in a hospital setting with a well-trained team who are capable of giving you and your baby the best and safest care.”
Kirby spent a total of five weeks at Fort Sanders Regional where she says, through grateful tears, that her nurses and bedside team exceeded her expectations. “By the time I delivered my baby, all the staff knew me. Talk about empathy and compassion — these people have that.”
“Roll with the Punches”
Kirby reflects over the emotional rollercoaster that was her summer. “I’ve learned a lot of lessons, and emotionally it’s been tough. I like to be in control, but this experience has taught me to roll with the punches.”
She continues, “It changes you as a person, when you see others having such deep compassion for you. You learn how to help others after going through a hard time yourself. It has changed the way I offer help to people.”
Capable and Caring Hands
“God got me through this for sure,” she says. “God, family and our community. Now our baby is home and everyone is doing great. I would recommend Fort Sanders, hands down. They were amazing. The Perinatal Center, too. I felt they were all on my side, all cheering me on.”
Kirby describes returning to the Perinatal Center for a follow-up appointment and how caring the staff members were. “I just really want to say thank you to everyone who was so wonderful to me. I was in capable and caring hands. The people there who cared for me just truly made all the difference.”