LUSK – When the pains first started, Shilo Sherman was worried she was miscarrying the baby she had only discovered she was carrying 17 days before. Sherman had found out she was pregnant on Dec. 30. Doctors calculated she was around 9 weeks and scheduled her for a dating ultrasound on Feb. 3. Sherman was excited and shared the news with her family and close friends.
Then, on Jan. 17 she began to worry. She hadn’t felt quite right for a day or two and began to have significant back pain and cramping. As the pain increased she decided to go into the emergency room at Niobrara Community Hospital. With no other symptoms and after an exam, she was advised to continue Tylenol and see her primary care physician if the pain didn’t go away.
After arriving at home Sherman decided to try and get some rest but her pain continued to increase, mainly in her back. She was certain she was miscarrying and her body was telling her she needed to do something. She decided to go back to the hospital and presented in the early morning hours of Jan. 18. By then the pains, that Sherman would later learn were back labor, and contractions were coming so close together she was unable to walk or stand up. The ER nurse helped her onto a cot and hurried to call a physician after Sherman informed the nurses she “felt like she had to push.” Dr. Mark Prince was the ER doctor on call and advised the nurse that if Sherman felt like she needed to push she should and he was on his way.
At 4:40 a.m., Kaiser Patrick made his appearance to the astonishment of both ER staff and his mother. Sherman was expecting to be told she was miscarrying a 9 week old baby, not delivering a baby that, other than small, appeared to be basically full term.
The Niobrara Community Hospital doesn’t have a labor and delivery ward. Without a surgical unit they are unable to offer this service to patients. Women who present in labor are usually examined and then transferred either by ground or air to the nearest appropriate facility. Baby Kaiser had other plans and hospital policy wasn’t going to change his mind about arriving on Jan. 18, weighing 5 pounds, 2 ounces and 18 inches long. The pediatrician in Casper estimated him to be between 32 and 38 weeks gestation but without a baseline ultrasound it made it difficult to tell exactly how old he was.
The ER at Niobrara Hospital has the basic equipment required to deliver a baby safely and stabilize mother and baby. The on-call nurses delivered Kaiser and made sure he and Sherman were stable. They had called for air transport when they realized what was going to happen and Sherman and baby were air ambulanced to Wyoming Medical Center.
Thanks to the fast work of the ER staff at Niobrara Community Hospital Kaiser didn’t require much more than a few days of oxygen and to be under the UV lights for jaundice and routine post-delivery care. Sherman was discharged on Jan. 20 and Kaiser came home on Jan. 21.
Sherman expressed her appreciation for her family who, when they heard what was going on, immediately rallied around her. They collected baby supplies and clothing and by the time she was discharged she had a car seat, pack and play and other baby essentials waiting for her.
She knows many people won’t be able to believe she didn’t know how far along she was but many of the obvious pregnancy symptoms weren’t ever present for Sherman. She never had morning sickness and she just thought her fatigue was from work. Her cycles were all normal up until November. Looking back on it what Sherman thought were muscles twitching from long days on her feet at work were Kaisers little kicks. Sherman had actually been losing weight and carried Kaiser very high up under her ribs so never really showed a “baby belly.” She can appreciate that she didn’t have to deal with a lot of “pre delivery” anxiety like many moms-to-be however the mindset change from “I am going have a baby” to “I HAVE a baby” was pretty dramatic to make over the course of 24 hours.
Sherman smiles as she tells how much she loves her little surprise and how blessed she feels he and she are both healthy. Her sister, Trish, and Trish’s husband, Ty, have been named as Kaiser’s God parents and for now, Sherman is staying with them as she and Kaiser get the hang of this newborn thing.