On June 7, Katie-Rose Decoeli found herself sitting in a hot car in a Walmart parking lot in excruciating pain. Hours earlier, exactly 27 weeks and 6 days into her pregnancy, she’d been induced at her local Halifax hospital. The nurses advised her to come back by 1 pm the next day or when she went in to labour, whichever came first. Now, it was happening and it was painful.
Back at the hospital, with her husband Rob at her side, Katie-Rose stood in a shower hoping for relief from contractions – eight in a span of 10 minutes. Finally, her water broke. “That was when they realized something was wrong,” she recalls. “Along with my water breaking, came blood, more blood than usual. Then, shortly after, with each contraction, Baby D’s heart rate would disappear. Something was wrong.”
As she lay on the hospital bed, surrounded by doctors trying to get a fetal heart rate, all she could see was her husband and mom, looking, as she puts it, “scared to death.” In the 24 hours before she went into labour, her placenta had detached from her uterus. The risk was potentially fatal, and that was just the danger for her.
Unbeknownst to Katie-Rose and Rob at the time, the umbilical cord was wrapped around their unborn baby’s body and neck. Every blistering contraction was wrapping the cord tighter and tighter, “essentially strangling him,” she details. Though she was only 9 centimetres dilated, she had to push. After what felt like an hour, but was in reality five minutes, Katie-Rose gave birth to their son. She soon held him tightly against her stomach, separated only by her thin hospital nightgown, stained with afterbirth. The room was quiet as everyone waited with bated breath to hear the newborn’s wail.