"It was six-thirty in the morning, we were in the cafeteria at Kaiser Permanente Hayward Hospital waiting for our supervisor to give us our assignments for the day when we heard this loud scream come from the parking lot," said Angie Rayzor, ABSN student. "At first we thought it was a drill."
The group ran outside towards the screams and what they saw when they arrived seemed out of a film or TV show. "The father, along with three small kids, was in a panic running around the van. And there was a woman standing outside the van door, leaning against a transport wheelchair, struggling with pain," said Kim Davies, ABSN student. "As we got closer she pulled her pants down and we could see the baby's head was crowing."
As the mother was screaming out, 'the baby's coming, the baby's coming,' Davies instincts took over. The nursing student fell down to her knees, hitting the cold hard pavement just in time to catch the baby girl!
"I saw the woman and though she looked very scared, she was relieved that we caught the baby," said Jeannette De Dios, ABSN student. Then like clockwork the team of nursing students quickly began evaluating the baby. Rayzor was the first to yell, 'skin-to-skin.'
"We learned in simulation that a premature delivery, or in a precipitous birth, you put the baby directly on the mom's belly to keep it warm," explained Rayzor. "She wasn't crying much, which worried me. I knew I had to do something immediately so that the baby would not lose any more warmth."
The SMU students continued to evaluate the baby, assessing her breathing and pulse. De Dios and Davies started vigorously massaging the baby's face and nose to remove any secretions or blockages to promote breathing. "It was hard to tell if the baby was breathing or not because it was so cold," said Rayzor. "She still looked so blue, but once the baby started to cough and cry, we all felt better."
At that precise time Ray Monge, ABSN student, arrived with two nurses from the hospitals Labor and Delivery (L&D) Department. "When everyone else ran outside, I ran inside to find help. Once I explained there was a woman having a baby in the parking lot we all ran downstairs but not before I grabbed some gloves for my classmates. I thought 'just in case they needed additional pair of hands' we are now prepared!"
For the San Mateo nursing group their only labor preparation was through simulation training they did two weeks prior. "I was just amazed at how each of us contributed," said De Dios. "Kim caught the baby, Angie yelled "skin to skin" and then others yelled "baby's not breathing -- stimulate!" And we just learned how to do all this! It was definitely a team effort."
"I felt that I burned a lot of calories in those few minutes," laughs Monge. "I am grateful for the simulation we had. It helped us to respond in the right way at the right time. As students we have some limitations in handling patients, but the scenarios our instructors gave us in class taught us to stay focus and calm."
The team cites the program and their professor, Laurie Rosa MS, RN, Assistant Professor, for everything they learned. "It's definitely attributed to the staff and the school," said Rayzor. "I don't know if I would have responded the same had I not had that simulation class. Simulation training is crucial."
"Our program teaches us two things, theory and practice," explains Tamra Hollenbeck, ABSN student. "But the theory is nothing until you're actually putting it into practice. So that's what I think is the beauty of the ABSN program. It's not theoretical, it's hands on, and to me that's the more important piece."
"It is so strangely miraculous that these dedicated and mature nursing students, who just started their intense 12-month program this semester and took a simulation course in labor and delivery just a couple of weeks ago, would be helping this family by delivering their baby," said Rosa. "It is a testament to our University preparing nurses to not simply succeed academically but to critically and practically apply the knowledge, theory, and skills of nursing practice."
As for the mother and child, according to hospital staff, after the shock wore down, everyone was happy and relieved. Later that same day the husband's mother went in search of the person who 'caught' her granddaughter.
"When she asked if I was a nurse and when I said, 'No, I'm a student nurse,' and explained how me and my fellow nursing students all helped bring this baby into the world she was shocked. But then she couldn't stop congratulating us. She was very thankful for our collaboration and our skills as nursing students."