Brianna Nicole Carter came into the world in dramatic fashion.
Born at only 3 pounds, 15 ounces, she is working hard to maintain her drama queen status. After only three days, she made it known that she was done with feeding tubes and ready to take a bottle, just like the big kids. Tiny but fierce.
Brianna’s feisty personality is all the more striking because she very nearly didn’t make it at all. She and her mom, Jennifer Clevenger, only barely survived the birth.
Clevenger says she has had high blood pressure for years and was monitored closely throughout her pregnancy. On Sunday, April 9, she felt sick; although she wasn’t due for another seven weeks, she began to feel contractions. Her blood pressure was a dangerous 180/139. Clevenger had lost a baby from a previous pregnancy, so she was very concerned.
As she and her fiance Allan Carter walked to the car to head to the doctor, Clevenger felt a gush as if her water broke, but she saw that it was blood. She felt a ringing in her ears and her vision began to fade. As Carter sped north from their home in Remington. Clevenger drifted in and out of consciousness. She managed to call 911, but passed out before she could communicate with the dispatcher. Carter caught the phone and arranged to meet an ambulance at the Sheetz in Opal.
“I was really scared,” said Carter. “Her lips were turning blue, her eyes were sunken and she was covered in blood.”
Although Clevenger’s doctor was in a neighboring county, the ambulance brought her to Fauquier Hospital. Clevenger said she pleaded with OB/GYN Dr. Wesley Hodgson to please save her baby. “I told him I didn’t care about me, just save my baby.”
Clevenger was transitioned quickly from the Emergency Department to the operating suite in the Family Birthing Center. The baby’s heart rate was dangerously low and Clevenger was unconscious again. Dr. Hodgson explained to Carter that there was no time to waste if they were going to save mother and baby.
Clevenger was whisked away. Carter remembers, “A nurse ran up to me and said, ‘Let’s go.’ She brought me up to a room in the Family Birthing Center and had me wait there while Dr. Hodgson did an emergency C-section. Within ten minutes –which seemed like forever — she came back to tell me that the baby was out and they were both fine.”
Well, not fine, exactly. Clevenger spent 24 hours in the Intensive Care Unit recovering from an abruption of the uterus and continuing high blood pressure. Even when she was able to return to a regular Family Birthing Center room, her kidney function was still a source of concern. “They were trying to determine whether there has been any permanent damage, so they were monitoring me closely,” said Clevenger. After a few days, her blood work showed encouraging signs.
While her mom recovered, the neonatology…