Eastern Plumas Health Care’s emergency services staff had reason to celebrate this Christmas when they delivered one baby Christmas Eve and another on Christmas Day, said Director of Quality and Operations Teresa Whitfield.
EPHC stopped routinely delivering babies about 12 years ago. Usually, the emergency room isn’t a place where you go to get happy, but with these two surprise births, emergency and celebration were synonymous for once.
December Lutz and her husband, Joseph, had been assured by their doctor it was safe for them to travel to Graeagle for Christmas with Joseph’s parents, since the mother-to-be had three weeks until her delivery date. Defying the odds the way babies often do, December started feeling contractions on the morning of Christmas Eve.
“I was hoping it would go away, but I didn’t think it would,” said Lutz. This is her second baby, and these contractions felt familiar. “I kind of figured we were going to have a baby that day, much as we didn’t want to yet.”
Graeagle Volunteer Fire Department responded with its fire truck to the home, where it was determined that December, whose infant’s head was already crowning, would travel to the emergency room more comfortably in an ambulance.
December said she remembers trying really hard not to push. She delivered 10 minutes after arriving at the hospital.
Whitfield said EPHC keeps an infant warmer and supplies on hand for just such emergencies, but the hospital usually see one delivery every couple of years.
Everything went very smoothly though, with the staff all pitching in to help. “Dr. Jeffrey Davis was a wonderful, calm presence,” Whitfield added.
December Lutz said one of the people who helped with her delivery was Molly Turner from Care Flight. Lutz heard the woman’s name, and it reminded her, she said, “I liked the name Molly.”
Whitfield said she was holding Molly Naomi Lutz and getting ready to put her into the warmer when the phone in the ER rang. The man on the other end of the line was the father of a young mother who was having contractions. He wanted to know what he should do and she told him he should get his daughter to the hospital. She asked him where he was located. “Portola,” he answered.
Brandi Flores arrived in the emergency room and was transferred to Tahoe Forest hospital in Truckee. After personnel there determined she wasn’t close to delivering, they sent her home. “But on Christmas morning I wasn’t feeling very good,” she said.
She arrived back at EPHC’s emergency room, this time by ambulance, and delivered Dayden Tempest Flores 35 minutes later.
December Lutz and Molly were transferred to Plumas District Hospital in Quincy, which has regular maternity care. Brandi Flores and Dayden were transferred to Tahoe Forest.
Whitfield gave the nurses who helped welcome the Christmas babies into the world stork pins after inducting them into the “Order of the Stork.” She said it felt good to be a part of bringing these babies safely into the world.
Whitfield never wants to miss a chance to let her nurses know she values their work. “Nothing they do is inconsequential,” she added. “They touch lives no matter what they do.”
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