When Mercedes headed to Avista Adventist Hospital to deliver her baby on Thursday, Dec. 30, she had no idea that the birth of her daughter would coincide with the outbreak of the Marshall fire.
As the flames from the Marshall fire bore down on Louisville, Superior and Boulder County, Mercedes and her unborn daughter were in the competent, compassionate care of Avista labor and delivery nurse Christa Regnier and Christa’s fellow Avista caregivers. The hospital staff prepare for all kinds of disasters by participating in trainings and drills. So, when the call to evacuate the facility came over the intercom, Christa and her fellow caregivers stayed calm keeping the care and well-being of their patients at the forefront.
“From the minute they said let’s go, I mean, we just went running,” Christa said during a Fox 31 interview. “In 21 years, I’ve never encountered anything like this. It was scary.”
“Mercedes was in active labor,” Christa continued. “She was about 5 centimeters. Her water was broken. She had an epidural — thankfully, she had just gotten an epidural, and was comfortable.”
In preparation for evacuation, Christa set to gathering Mercedes’ belongings and relocating Mercedes to Avista’s emergency room, where they waited for an ambulance to transport them to Centura Health sister hospital, St. Anthony North.
Mercedes was one of 51 patients that our Avista caregivers worked to safely evacuate from Avista to one of our sister facilities at which their fellow Centura caregivers worked to ready for the arriving patients.
During the Fox 31 interview, Christa recalled the moments as they waited for the arrival of the ambulance.
“It wasn’t Mercedes’ first baby, and second-time moms, third-time moms, tend to progress a little quicker in labor, so we needed her not to,” she said. “We needed baby to wait just a little longer. It would have made things a little more difficult if we were delivering in the ER during all of this.”
Baby Claire seemed to sense the need to delay her arrival, waiting until her mother was safely transferred to St. Anthony North before making her appearance. Christa said Mercedes maintained a great attitude throughout the whole process and trusted the team caring of her.
“I think that she trusted me,” Christa said. “She was exhausted, of course, but was in good spirits, and was a trooper and handled it very well.”
Christa explained that the safe delivery of baby Claire was a testament to the incredible work completed by everyone working at Avista Thursday night.
“It’s a miracle that we all made it out safely,” she said. “As much we were afraid, and scared, and anxious and so saddened by everything, it also makes you very thankful for what we do have.”
Christa reports that Claire is doing well and the safety and well-being of all our Avista patients is what matters most.