Nicole Hall was looking forward to meeting her third child after a blissful, straightforward pregnancy.
As a healthy 29-year-old who had previously carried and delivered two healthy babies, there was no reason to suspect her life was in danger as she was induced at UCH Memorial North hospital in Colorado Springs on the February 13, 2018.
A registered nurse herself, Nicole was unaware of the downward turn events were about to take as she and her husband, Anthony, waited to meet their new baby. And given she was seven centimetres dilated, that moment was getting close.
However, Nicole suffered a life-threatening reaction, called an Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE) which occurs when amniotic fluid enters the mother’s bloodstream, triggering a serious reaction which can lead to massive bleeding and heart and lung collapse.
While Nicole doesn’t remember a lot after this moment, she recalls that she started to feel very hot and nauseated.
Anthony, on the other hand, remembers the following minutes all too clearly.
“I went to get Nicole a wet washcloth, and the nurse came in to see how she was progressing,” he tells Mamamia.
“Nicole kept saying she couldn’t breathe, and her whole body started getting red, her back arched, and the nurse asked me to grab her (oxygen) mask.”
Anthony was forced to hold the mask to his wife’s face as she tried in a panic to pull it off. Then her body turned blue, and the nurse jumped on top of her to start chest compressions and yelled for a code blue in Nicole’s room.
The room turned into a flurry of activity, and one nurse held Anthony back as medical personnel tried desperately to save Nicole, performing chest compressions for almost six minutes.
“People instantly came running into the room and equipment started flying. Nicole’s IV had popped out when the nurse jumped up to start compressions,” he says.
Anthony’s mother and brother were in the waiting room just outside the delivery room when the doors burst open and Nicole was rushed out to the operating room with the nurse still straddling Nicole, mid-compression.
Anthony dropped to his knees and started praying, but part of the nursing team and a chaplain stopped him to tell him what was happening: they need to do a post-mortem c-section.
Nicole was gone.
Now it was a race against time to try to save Nicole and Anthony’s baby.