Jerry Davich: Hospital nurses to mother of twins: ‘You are our miracle’
Jerry Davich firstname.lastname@example.org December 22, 2012 8:14PM
Stacy and Jason Martinez with daughters (l to r) Mila and Scarlett in Cedar Lake Thursday afternoon. Stacy suffered a amniotic embolism after giving birth to the twins. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 24, 2013 6:17AM
You don’t often hear the word “miracle” or the phrase “divine intervention” uttered publicly by hospital doctors and nurses regarding a patient.
But then there’s the compelling story of Stacy Martinez, a 25-year-old Cedar Lake mother of newly born twin girls on Nov. 17.
Martinez, a former U.S. Army combat medic, had just undergone a Cesarean section surgery at Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point when the unthinkable happened.
Her heart stopped. She suffered an amniotic embolism. Her chances of survival — 40 percent at best.
“She coded right there on the table,” explained Sheila Steward, a registered nurse who worked the Obstetrics Unit on that unforgettable day.
Steward began performing chest compressions on Martinez as several other hospital staff members hustled around her unresponsive body. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurses Kim Federico and Kelley Thompson also took turns performing CPR, as anesthetist Jason Ramaker worked to bring Martinez back. The “code blue” team was alerted.
“The response was immediate,” said Steward, who never had a patient code on her watch in 19 years. “Everybody who needed to be there at that exact time just happened to be there. It was amazing.”
Throughout the ordeal, Federico kept telling Martinez, “Please don’t go, you have two beautiful new daughters.”
After about six minutes, Martinez’s heart was restarted.
Once she was intubated and had regular heart rhythm, her surgery was completed and she was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. Later, she was transferred to the emergency department and then — still unresponsive — transferred to the University of Chicago Hospital.
Following further treatment there, she was discharged four days later to be home with her husband, Jason, her twins, Mila and Scarlett, and their two siblings, Jacob, 3, and Lilliana, 18 months. She remembers nothing from what has turned into an unforgettable day for hospital nurses, doctors and administrators.
“All of us never stopped praying for you,” Federico told Martinez afterward. “I never wanted to see a mom again as much as I wanted to see you. You are our miracle.”
Martinez had to agree, later telling me, “There’s no question that God was present that day.”
Yet, five weeks later, she still can’t grasp what happened to her that day.
“Everything that could have went wrong did so, according to all my paperwork. But then something happened,” she tried to explain.
Something ... miraculous?
“Yes, I don’t know how else to describe it,” she replied.
Credit, but to whom?
Credit for such an unexpected outcome was duly given to the doctors and nurses on hand that day, including Martinez’s charge nurse, Jessica Jenkins.
“The fact NICU nurses are used to doing compressions only on newborns shows Kim’s and Kelly’s amazing commitment,” said Kathy Podorsek, the unit director.
However, many of the staff members had difficulty sleeping, eating and even concentrating afterward, instead worrying about Martinez after she was stabilized and transferred to Chicago for supportive care.
In hindsight, they, too, are characterizing Martinez’s renewed gift of life as, “very much a miracle,” while crediting repeated prayers to a “higher power.”
“Everything simply fell into place flawlessly,” said Steward, one of the nurses who performed CPR that day. “It was definitely divine intervention. We felt blessed just to there.”
So much that one of them, Federico, created a “BELIEVE” symbol with inspirational words she penned herself.
“We at St. Anthony’s are rejoicing in a true miracle,” it states. “On November 17th, we believed in miracles, but didn’t realize we would be praying to God like we never had. ‘Please God don’t take this Mom who hasn’t seen her two beautiful baby girls.’ As hours passed, hope began to emerge and our hope and prayers came to be a wonderful homecoming for a Mother and baby girls. I would like to thank you for an amazing will to live, and to God for letting us BELIEVE again and again.”
The gift was given to Martinez during a recent, tearful reunion with the nurses, who were ecstatic to see her again. Oddly, Martinez couldn’t recognize any of them, she told me.
“It sounds like the story of someone else,” Martinez said during the reunion.
Martinez, who still suffers from minor neurological problems, said she has since read about so many other mothers and newborns who have similar complications after such a birth.
“Why is there nothing wrong with me and my children?” she asked rhetorically, or possibly theologically. “I’ve always been a faithful person, but what happened has only made me stronger in my faith.”
Her husband, Jason, who also is a U.S. Army combat medic, is based in Texas and is now home for the holidays. The couple were previously based together in Germany, where a pregnant Martinez asked to return home to deliver her twins.
What if she delivered them in Germany? What if the proper medical staff wasn’t present during her C-section? What if ... ? What if ...? She can’t help but ponder such possibilities.
“So many people I don’t even know cared so much,” said Martinez, regarding the hospital staff who performed professionally as well as personally, with their prayers.
“I am so touched, so grateful,” she told them through tears. “I want to thank you guys for saving my life. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.”
Jenkins replied, reminding Martinez about something much larger than modern medicine: “A higher power was at work here — we can’t take credit for it.”
On a side note, Martinez and her husband are in need of a rental home in the region, ideally in Cedar Lake, St. John or Crown Point. The couple are under commission of the U.S. Army and fully understand they may be ordered to live in another part of the country. Hence, a rental home.
If a reader can offer them any assistance or any deals (hint, hint), feel free to contact me and I will connect you. It may be a minor miracle to find such a home, but Martinez would be grateful on behalf of her young, and already blessed, family.
Find more of Jerry’s writings on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, and jerrydavich.wordpress.com.