Charlie's Angels of South Shore Hospital
Maryellen Basham didn’t know what to think when she woke to a painful “popping” sensation in her stomach at 4 AM—one day before her due date. Because she was induced with her first child, Jackson, six years earlier and had an unanticipated cesarean section, she had never really experienced the typical labor pains described by most women and assumed it was just labor pain. As the pain became excruciating however, she realized something was wrong and woke her husband, Scott.
“I couldn’t really even walk and I just knew something bad was happening,” Maryellen recalled.
They immediately called Tufts where Maryellen had been receiving her prenatal care and the hospital recommended they head there right away. Leaving their home in Abington, Maryellen’s water broke and contractions started coming a minute apart. The pain was so intense at this point that she and Scott knew they wouldn’t make it to Tufts and instead stopped at South Shore Hospital.
South Shore Hospital delivers nearly 3,400 infants every year—more than any other hospital in the region.
South Shore Hospital's birthing unit is always prepared for the unexpected situations that can sometimes arise with expectant mothers. Maryellen’s situation was about to become anything but expected.
“I remember pulling up to the emergency department of South Shore Hospital and they got me in a wheelchair right away and brought me up to the labor and delivery unit,” Maryellen recalled.
While she and the baby were being closely monitored, it wasn’t long before Melinda Garofalo, RN, began to notice a concerning dip in the baby’s heart rate on the fetal monitor.
“I was having a hard time tracing the baby and then I was having a hard time finding a heart rate at all,” Melinda said. “I knew then that something was definitely off, so I paged Dr. Levesque.”
Ruth Levesque, MD, a Crown Obstetrician, had just started her shift for the morning when she got the call.
“Maryellen was in a significant amount of pain when I met her that morning, different pain from what I would expect of a laboring woman who had an epidural in place,” said Dr. Levesque.
After an exam, Dr. Levesque discovered that Maryellen wasn’t even dilated—a bit concerning because that meant the pain she was having was not due to labor progressing along. She immediately ordered an ultrasound to determine the positioning of the baby.
“We expected to look at her uterus to see what position the baby was in and instead discovered that it was empty… no baby in her uterus,” Dr. Levesque recalled.
“I moved the ultrasound up to her upper abdomen and I saw the baby transverse, with the heart rate still good at that point and very quickly realized we were in an emergent situation so I called a code and moved expeditiously to the operating room.”
Dr. Levesque and the team worked rapidly and skillfully together to keep Maryellen and her baby safe. Uterine rupture is a rare but serious complication and if the rupture is large enough, as in this case, a baby can actually leave the womb and move into the abdomen. It becomes an extremely dangerous situation for both mother and baby, and can lead to hemorrhaging. Fortunately, the outcome that morning was nothing short of miraculous.
Charles “Charlie” Russell Basham entered the world healthy and strong, even under such complicated circumstances. Although Maryellen lost a lot of blood—two and half liters—through excellent post-operative care and several blood transfusions, she recovered at the same pace as one would having a normal C-section delivery. The Basham family is forever grateful for the life-saving work and care delivered to bring Charlie into the world.
In honor of their entire team of caregivers, they have made a donation to the South Shore Health Foundation.
“I’m so very grateful that we didn’t make it to Boston to deliver because I think we were meant to enter the doors of South Shore Hospital that morning where we would meet our angels. Angels, God knew would be the ones to save our lives,” said Maryellen.