Oh baby, baby: twins arrive on their own time table in Grand County
January 26, 2012
In a county where babies are not routinely born, a set of premature twins were delivered at the new Middle Park Medical Center in Granby on Sunday.
Doug Dawson of Granby and Becky Clark of Longmont are the new parents of identical twins William (Liam) and Connor, who were born at 4:27 p.m. and 4:32 p.m. respectively.
The boys were born at 31 weeks, each weighing a little more than 3 pounds at about 16-plus inches long.
Around 2 p.m. on Sunday, “We were at home, and I was watching football in our brand-new chair,” Becky said. “I had a really bad stomach pain.”
Then before she knew it, her water broke – on the couple’s recently purchased leather La-Z-Boy.
Becky promptly notified Doug, who had been napping in the bedroom. Before they left, however, Becky was worried about the new chair and asked Doug to go clean it, she said.
The couple had planned on delivering in Longmont, but decided to stop at Middle Park Medical Center, which opened on Jan. 1, just to make sure it was OK to make the trip over Berthoud Pass.
Becky did not have any contractions at the time. But when Dr. Rick Foutch, the hospital’s board-certified emergency physician and trauma director, examined the mother-to-be, he told her, “You’re having your babies here.”
William’s head was already in the birth canal.
This realization set a series of events into motion for the crew of Mikee Tennant, RN, Dr. Foutch, Irmgard Mannix, RN, Cheryl Torrent, RN, and Bret Martin, a critical care tech. “When I found out it was an imminent delivery of premature twins, I took one bed out of the trauma bay and set it up like a mini-ICU,” said Tennant, department nurse manager, “and got out all the equipment for incubation.”
Tennant also proceeded to contact Children’s Hospital in Denver to dispatch its neonatal intensive care team.
Foutch called in Dr. Jason Steuerman of Middle Park Medical Center to assist, since the emergency would comprise three patients.
Although Becky had planned on an epidural for delivery, she ended up delivering without. “Rebecca was incredible,” Tennant said. “God love her, that woman, she’s a miracle-worker.”
According to Tennant and Foutch, both boys arrived into the world a critical color blue for lack of oxygen. They were “working very, very hard. Their muscles were contracting to the max to pull as much air in,” Foutch said.
The babies cried a little, deemed a positive sign.
“That was really good,” Doug said. “That was the point when I was really relieved.” The boys shared a neonatal warmer. “They were small enough that they fit in there beautifully,” Tennant said.
Since the weather was not conducive to helicopter flight, a Children’s hospital neonatal transport crew was en-route from Denver via a fixed-wing plane, as well as a ground crew via police escort. Grand County Emergency Medical Services picked up the flight crew from Kremmling airport and drove them to Middle Park Medical Center.
One baby was then transported by Children’s Hospital ground crew to Children’s Hospital, and the second baby, his father and the Children’s flight crew were transported by Grand County EMS back to Kremmling Airport, to be flown to Children’s Hospital, according to EMS spokesperson Nowell Curran. Because of the neonatal equipment and number of team members on flight, only one baby could be transported by air.
“I was never so relieved as to see that team from Children’s come in,” Tennant said.
“It’s a big deal, an event like this is so rare,” Foutch said. “If it ever happens again in my career, then I’m going to buy a lottery ticket. I’m so proud of the way everything turned out.
“The teamwork between us and our people, and Children’s neonatal transport team, Grand County EMS – everyone was really pulling together,” Foutch continued.
“It was like a team facing the World Series, and we had never even played together before.”
“In my professional career of over 30 years, this is one of the top five clinical experiences for me,” Tennant said. “Everything went just so well.”
According to an update Foutch received Thursday from Children’s Hospital Neonatologist Susan Niermayer, the twins are “doing really well” and are relying a little less .
The babies may be in the hospital for another six weeks to reach full term, the parents said.
“They’re stable, they’re eating and gaining weight,” Becky reported.
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603