Expecting the unexpected
Andrea Atkinson was expecting.
But she was not expecting to go from 8-months pregnant to delivering a baby boy in the Rugby hospital in the matter of a half hour.
Atkinson, 27, woke up on Oct. 1 in her Willow City home not feeling well.
“I called (St. Aloisius Hospital in Harvey) and they wanted me to come in and make sure everything was OK,” she said.
Atikinson, driven by her husband Camron, with their 2-year-old daughter Ava in the back seat, never made it.
It was around 6:30 a.m. and the family had wasn’t even 10 miles down the road when Andrea’s water broke.
“(Camron) asked me if I was sure,” she said. “I told him I wasn’t going to make it anywhere else.”
Camron made a quick call to a friend who alerted Heart of America Medical Center officials the expecting couple would be there within minutes.
“I told her I don’t think I can deliver a baby in the vehicle,” Camron recalled with a laugh. “Don’t be pushing or anything. We were scooting right along, let’s put it’s that way.”
When the Atkinsons arrived, staff members at the hospital, which hasn’t been providing obstetrician services for more than six years, were waiting.
“I was scared I wasn’t even going to make it to Rugby,” Andrea said. “I knew Rugby didn’t deliver babies. I didn’t know if I’d be going in an ambulance somewhere or what.”
Hospital staff immediately realized there would be no time for an ambulance.
“It’s like any emergency,” said Mary Kay Miller, a longtime nurse at the hospital. “We get our team together and get things going. It’s just like with anything. Some of our newer staff hasn’t had the exposure, but they’d be able to handle any emergency they have to.”
Once Andrea was admitted it was a matter of minutes before Shawn Atkinson, weighing in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long, was born.
“I want to say it was about 15,” said Camron, 28. “By the time the gal at the reception desk said she could watch Ava, it was happening.”
Although the hospital hasn’t had an active OB unit for six years, it has still delivered babies when the expecting mothers aren’t able to get to other hospitals.
“It probably averages out to be one a year,” Miller said. “The problem is it’s so far to go. They have to go to Minot, Devils Lake or Harvey. It can be a long ride for somebody.”
The hospital continues to update its training despite not providing OB services and, because of the time of day, had more than enough staff on hand for the delivery.
“It was right at change of shift,” Miller said. “We had five nurses and two doctors there and we actually had our ambulance service there too.”
Andrea stayed in the hospital for three more days after Shawn was born, much to the delight of the doting hospital staff.
“It’s a different environment because they’re not sick,” Miller said. “It’s a joyous occasion. Everyone is happy.”
The Atkinsons said they couldn’t have been more pleased with the response and care they received at the hospital.
“The staff, I can’t say enough for them,” he said.
Andrea reported that Shawn, who was almost a month premature, is doing well and gaining weight.
“I don’t know how to word how thankful we are for everyone in the hospital,” Andrea said. “They were always checking in and helping with my daughter. They were all very wonderful.”
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