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Where Michelle had a safe delivery

When Michelle's placenta tore, delivering baby Hugo became dangerous. Though she had an unexpected birthing experience, Michelle and her baby received exceptional care.

February 07, 2023
Baby Hugo sleeping swaddled in the hospital.

When Michelle and Paco Smith delivered their firstborn son at Lone Peak Hospital, everything went smoothly. They adored the doctors and nurses, as well as the fresh feel within the facility. So when Michelle became pregnant just 10 months later, they planned for another positive experience at Lone Peak Hospital — it happened, but not in a way they anticipated.

Unexpected situation, exceptional care

About 12 hours after being induced, Michelle recognized it was time to welcome baby Hugo. She began pushing, but with each strain, an abnormal amount of blood and blood clots flowed out.

“I pushed for eight minutes, and when he came out, he was covered in it,” Michelle said. “He tried to take a breath, but he just inhaled and swallowed more blood.”

As baby Hugo struggled to breathe, nurses worked quickly to clear his mouth and nasal cavity.

“The nurses and doctors were very calm. I held Hugo for one second, but he was coughing up blood. I was so worried about him. Immediately after that, they took him to the NICU,” Michelle remembers.

Michelle’s placenta had torn within the womb. Known as placenta abruption, this uncommon and dangerous pregnancy complication often occurs before delivery when the placenta suddenly separates partially or completely from the inner wall of the uterus. This event can decrease or block oxygen and nutrients for the baby and can trigger heavy bleeding for the mother.

During and after the delivery, Michelle lost a significant amount of blood, leaving her weak and faint for a couple days. Soon, she regained her strength and could return home to Felix, her 19-month-old. On the other hand, baby Hugo needed more medical care, including supplemental oxygen and a feeding tube, so he stayed at Lone Peak’s NICU.

Lone Peak’s NICU: Strengthening infants and their parents

Michelle felt overwhelmed at the thought of leaving Hugo at the NICU until Michelle’s husband, Paco, recommended that Michelle observe care in the NICU for several hours. This experience made all the difference.

“I sat there for around 4 hours, watching how they cared for all the babies. I could see the love for every one. If a baby cried, nurses went to them immediately. They burped them, fed them, checked on them and snuggled them — seeing the way they cared helped me feel better about leaving Hugo there,” Michelle said.

In addition to compassionate nurses, Michelle said communication with kind and expert doctors made a positive impact on her experience.

“After Hugo’s pediatrician talked with me at the beginning of each day, she’d send texts with all of what we discussed written out. I’m from Sweden, so English can be hard for me, and this helped me understand everything better. I really appreciated her communication and how positive she was,” Michelle said.

The little things make a big difference

Hugo spent one week growing incrementally stronger within Lone Peak’s NICU. During that time, Michelle says she too felt seen and strengthened by the health care team.

“It was just the little things, but they showed me how they cared. Like one day I was very emotional, and a nurse consoled me and gave me a hug and then moved my chair so I could see my husband holding Hugo better. It was little, but it meant a lot to me in that moment,” Michelle said.

Because of many small, sweet moments, Michelle says she highly recommends care at Lone Peak Hospital.

“I say, ‘Take me to Lone Peak,’ because I know they’ll take care of me as if I was their child. They care on a personal level and that’s what you want when you’re in a vulnerable state and you’re scared,” Michelle said.

February 07, 2023
Lone Peak Hospital

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