Tara pressed gently on her seventeen-year-old patient’s full-term pregnant belly. The teenager’s water broke at thirty-seven weeks gestation twelve hours ago, but her contractions were paltry and irregular. Her grandmother had insisted that she come to the hospital, but the teenager flatly refused to deliver her baby on Halloween. But babies came on their own schedules, and because the girl’s Group B Strep screen was positive, Tara planned on giving the girl antibiotics and augmenting, or stimulating, her labor along. Who knew? She might deliver after midnight and her baby would miss an October 31 birthdate.
She sat at the edge of the girl’s bed while the girl’s grandmother whispered prayers. Tara waited until the grandmother finished her litany, and then addressed both the girl and her grandmother.
“Ginger, because it’s been several hours since your water has broken and, as we discussed at your last prenatal visit, you’ll need antibiotics to prevent your baby from becoming ill with the group B strep infection, and to make sure you don’t get a uterine infection. So I’ll start you on antibiotics and a medication called Pitocin to stimulate your contractions, but first I want to see how dilated you are.”
Tara slowly and gently examined Ginger while her grandmother, Aurora Morgan, reached out to hold Ginger’s hand—only to have it slapped away. Tara nodded to Mrs. Morgan, silently applauding her loving gesture. The stubborn girl winced, but she was cooperative.
“Your cervix is two centimeters dilated, seventy percent effaced or shortened, and it’s soft in consistency. Pitocin should work fine for you. The nurse will start your IV, send your blood to the lab for the standard labor protocol, and I’ll start you on antibiotics and Pitocin.” Tara removed her exam gloves, washed her hands, and then returned to the frightened girl’s bedside. “It will be all right. You may have an epidural any time you wish. Do you have any questions?”
Tara then glanced at Aurora Morgan, but the woman wearily nodded.
“I won’t push this baby out until after Halloween.”
“Ginger,” her grandmother pleaded.
“No Grams! Not on Halloween.”
“It’s important for the baby to be born.”
“The baby can wait.”
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