COLORADO SPRINGS – Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 12th. It’s a day to celebrate moms everywhere, and in some cases mothers celebrate the chance to be be a mom.
Such is the case for Lindsey Emerson, who lives in Pueblo West. Lindsey explains that she and her husband, Zack, were not planning on starting a family when they got some surprising news: “In July of 2018 we found out we were pregnant with Linkin – unexpectedly – that’s just part of our story I guess – we were super excited.”
It was a normal pregnancy until about 21 weeks. “I had some bleeding and I knew something wasn’t right. I called my husband and told him that he needed to come home, that we needed to go to the hospital. We got to the hospital in Pueblo and they told us that I was extremely dilated that there wasn’t much that they could do, and that we were going to lose him that night. My doctor decided to keep us in the hospital, trying to see how things went overnight.”
Lindsey made it through the night, and was transferred from Parkview Medical Center to UCHealth Memorial Central.
Dr. Laura Klein, a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist at UCHealth Memorial Hosptial Central, explains Lindsey’s condition when she arrived in Colorado Springs. “Lindsey was at 21 weeks of pregnancy and was sent emergently from Pueblo to Memorial. She was 5 centimeters dilated and it really looked like she was going to lose the baby. It’s not something that we see every day.”
Dr. Klein says when a baby is delivered prematurely at 24 weeks – three weeks more than where Lindsey was – there’s about a 50% chance of survival, and even then it can be a tough road.
Doctors’ main goal was to keep Lindsey from going into active labor. Dr. Klein says, “She wasn’t really in labor but her cervix was dilated at about 5 centimeters. The bag of water was coming through the cervix and the baby’s head was right above the cervix, so it looked like if we didn’t do anything there was a very high chance of delivery within the next week or two.”
Options were few, explains Dr. Klein. “I talked with Lindsey and her husband, Zack, about what the prognosis is in these cases. It’s pretty tough; if we don’t do anything they’re most likely to miscarry the pregnancy. We could try to do something called an exam-indicated cerclage, or more colloquially – a rescue cerclage – where we try to push the bag of water back into the uterus and then put a stitch in place to close the cervix to maintain the pregnancy. It’s a procedure that when someone is this far dilated (5 centimeters), I give it about a 50/50 chance of success. It does carry some risks for the mom like infection and bleeding, and in very severe cases it could lead to a hysterectomy if there was a bad infection.”
Despite the many risks to Lindsey, the decision for her and Zack was an easy one.
Lindsey says, “It’s supposed to be a half-hour surgery and I came out two and a half hours later. It was successful, and there were a ton of risks even after. The water could have broke, I could have gone into labor at any point, so over the next month I made Memorial Hospital my home.”
Dr. Klein says, “I was very worried about the risks, so Lindsey was admitted to the Women’s Pavilion, where our high-risk pregnant moms can stay if they need inpatient or specialized care, and she stayed there for 33 days.”
In our next Your Healthy Family, we’ll tell you where Lindsey’s journey went from there and the many miraculous events that lead up to Linkin’s delivery and how the family is doing today.
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