Nursing student delivers baby in front seat of car
Janeatte Bendezu (left) poses for a picture with her sister, Laura Campos, and the child she helped deliver, Melanie Aileen Campos.
When Janeatte Bendezu woke up the morning of April 16, the only thing she had planned for the day was relaxing at the park with her pregnant sister and their four nephews. Janeatte, then a senior in the School of Nursing, thought it might be a good idea to head home when her sister, Laura Campos, complained of a sharp pain.
The pain was irregular, and soon passed. The group made their way through Reche Canyon to their home in Moreno Valley. Though two days past her due date, Laura had been feeling fine. However, once the group arrived at their home, Laura began to feel another sharp pain, with an hour lapse in between.
What began as a picturesque Saturday afternoon at the park quickly turned into a hair-raising opportunity to put her schooling into practice.
“You think you’re prepared, but you have no idea when it’s going to come,” says Janeatte.
Though in pain, Laura made one thing clear: she didn’t want to have her child at any hospital other than Loma Linda University Medical Center. Going to any other hospital was out of the question.
So Janeatte drove her sister through Reche Canyon toward Loma Linda. While in the canyon, Laura began to panic. The baby was ready, but she only wanted to go to Loma Linda and they were at least 20 minutes away.
This was going to be Laura’s third child. She had taken so much care in the planning of this child. She had chosen relaxing music to listen to during childbirth, and had even selected scented candles. All of that was quickly forgotten.
Laura began to scream. Even though the road had no shoulder or any other place to pull off to the side, Janeatte pulled off the road anyway.
The baby’s head had already breached.
“I just remember pulling up my sister’s shirt, and the baby just slid right out,” she recalls.
Just like that, Melanie Aileen Campos entered the world, all 8.3 pounds of her.
“When Melanie came out she was pink and crying, so I knew everything was O.K.,” says Janeatte.
Once at the emergency department, Melanie’s umbilical cord was cut in the car.
“A lot of skills that I learned at the School of Nursing definitely came in handy that day,” says Janeatte.
For the past 9 years, Jan Nick, PhD, RNC, has developed the OB nursing course at the School of Nursing using concepts rather than details so that students learn the information and remember it more easily.
“When we teach them about the mother in labor, we stress how the student can keep the mother in control by using various physical and mental treatments,” says Dr. Nick. “Janeatte ended up coaching the mother while on the way to the hospital.”
Correct breathing techniques to assist mother-to-be’s in labor are just one of many OB lessons taught in the school.
“We made fun of it in class,” remembers Janeatte, “but it totally worked! Most importantly, the assessment tools that we learned in class were very important.”
According to Dr. Nick, the School also teaches the student how to react with POISE—an acronym for the very common nursing interventions that labor nurses do for maternal and fetal health during labor. Even though it is an acronym, Dr. Nick and the other instructors also teach nursing students that it is a state of being—that in emergency situations the student not only does those interventions, but also needs to react with poise—to remain calm and remain professional so that the mother can remain calm.
According to Dr. Nick, when teaching about how to work with newborns, she has them learn the four H’s—the common problems newborns can experience right after birth. This includes: hypoxia, hypothermia, hypoglycemia, and finally (days later) hyperbilirubinemia.
“Janeatte knew when the baby was born that she needed to do interventions to prevent the first three H’s, and she did,” notes Dr. Nick.
“Finally, once the baby was born, and did not show symptoms of the four H’s, she knew to focus her attention on the mother and assess for a boggy uterus—a term we use for a uterus that is not contracted well and bleeds profusely.”
Janeatte knew that to prevent and control bleeding she needed to place Melanie on the breast and massage Laura’s lower abdomen.
According to Dr. Nick, Janeatte was a very diligent and focused student in OB nursing.
“She used the skills she learned in OB to coach her sister and give support while driving toward the hospital, she remained calm, and she took care of the infant and the mother in a competent, professional manner,” adds Dr. Nick. “Congratulations are in order for both of them!”
After Laura and Melanie were at LLUMC, Janeatte called everyone she knew about the new addition to her family.
“I told them that the baby was born in the car and that I delivered her,” says Janeatte, “but no one believed me!”