Leigh Connor had a picture-perfect pregnancy. She received the right amount of exercise, ate the right foods and underwent all the requisite medical tests, which always came back with flying colors
She never dreamed her experience with childbirth would be any different. When the big day came, she checked into The Birthplace at University of Minnesota Medical Center, ready for what she thought would be a more or less routine childbirth.
That’s when a crisis struck.
Unbeknownst to Leigh, her baby had an abnormally short umbilical cord, which essentially held the child hostage in the womb. After 32 hours of labor, the baby actually began moving back up the birth canal. Then, Leigh’s baby’s heartbeat dropped to dangerously low levels. Medical personnel rapidly wheeled her down the hallway to a surgical suite, where the surgeons were donning their masks. Leigh needed an emergency Cesarean section.
“I’ve never been so scared in my whole life,” Leigh said. “It happened so fast that I didn’t get to say goodbye to my husband. He tried to follow us but they basically yelled back and said, ‘You have to stay here!’”
Today, Leigh and her husband Kevin are the proud parents of a healthy daughter named Adele, delivered by emergency C-section section.
“In hindsight, I’m very impressed and grateful that my care team was able to transition from a routine pregnancy to surgery within two minutes,” Leigh said.
Leigh never anticipated she would need emergency surgery, and initially chose the Birthplace at University of Minnesota Medical Center for a variety of other reasons.
“I wanted options,” she said. “Some women plan out their entire pregnancy. I didn’t know what I wanted. But I knew I wanted to be able to choose … to have an epidural at the last second, or do it naturally. University of Minnesota Medical Center has all the latest innovations and medicine. Essentially, they offered me any option I could want.”
Leigh’s decision to deliver at The Birthplace was also a vote of confidence in her doctor, Obstetrician/Gynecologist Elizabeth Eckhardt, MD.
“Some doctors are too empathetic to let you know what’s going on; some will give you a straight answer but aren’t empathetic. She manages to do both. She’s wonderful, and I knew that if she said everything would be great at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, then it would,” Leigh said.
As it turned out, that mix of empathy and honesty was a common trait shared by all the health professionals Leigh encountered during her hospital stay.
“The doctors knew how upset my husband was, so once the baby was out they brought my husband right back and told him, ‘You have a baby girl; she’s healthy and you can see her now, and Leigh is fine.’ That was life-saving for him.”
Though Leigh’s recovery from the emergency C-section was challenging, she was grateful that—when an emergency struck—she was at the right place, in the right hands at the right time.
“The medical staff during that time was wonderful. They were in my room every two hours for five days, and they did everything. They were the sweetest, most compassionate people I’ve ever met in any hospital setting.”