Baby dies 5 days after forceps delivery left her skull fractured

Awareness about such tragedies can always help prevent them from repeating in the future.

Note: Before heading into any medical procedure, always find out the risks and benefits from a medical professional.

We are very sorry for the loss of little Olivia's life. 

The 9 months before we bring our little angels into this world is filled with hope. Hope for a bright and happy future for them. We do our best to eat right, get adequate rest and give up anything that could remotely be harmful to our little bundles. After all this time of anticipation, we never envision that something could go terribly wrong while giving birth. To a parent this could be devastating!

This nightmare became a reality to 24-year-old Rachel Melancon her fiance Allen Coats. Rachel had a healthy pregnancy until the due date passed and baby was overdue. She then requested a C-section because of this and because the baby was comparatively big for her petite 4'11" frame.

Rachel's mother-in-law Angie Coats told ABC News that doctors at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas had advised her against it saying it will leave a scar. Rachel went into labour on the 28th of December. During labour the baby's heart rate was increasing but the mum was told to wait.

Mrs. Coats added that 'It was 18 hours until the delivery. [Rachel] was running a 103 fever ... Five hours passed, then [the obstetrician] came in and she started to push. But she was so worn out and the baby wasn't even in the birth canal,'

forceps delivery Loving messages for little Olivia from her parents. They stand vigil by her bedside. Photo Credit www.facebook.com/oliviamariecoats

The baby was reportedly positioned the wrong way and Dr George T Backardjiev their obstetrician had tried to turn the baby around with his hands. When this didn't work, he had tried to pull the baby out again with a small forceps. In his attempt to pull the baby out Mrs. Coats said that the doctor had even propped his foot on the bed.

This is when things went wrong. The expectant parents state on their Facebook page that they heard a popping sound similar to pottery cracking. This awful noise was the sound of their baby's skull cracking.  After this the doctor stitched Rachel up with the baby still in the birth canal and rushed her in for an emergency C-section.

In a heartbreaking post Ms. Melancon  says 'I felt her pulled out of me and the room was silent. No crying baby and they told Allen to leave the room. That's the last I remember before waking up to my baby girl lifeless,'

Baby Olivia Marie was born with a fractured skull and broken spinal cord, which left her brain damaged. Olivia Marie survived 5 days on life support where her parents kept vigil beside her. Devastatingly for Rachel and Allen their little angel passed away soon after she was taken off life support.

Baby Olivia's heart valve and tissue behind her legs and knees were donated to save another baby's life, says ABC News. 

Risks of forceps delivery

Skull fractures are a commonly known risk of deliveries aided by forceps. It is important that expectant mothers are aware of the risks associated with such deliveries and why forceps may need to be used in the first place.

The Mayo Clinic website states that "A forceps delivery might be considered if your labor meets certain criteria — your cervix is fully dilated, your membranes have ruptured and your baby has descended into the birth canal headfirst, but you're not able to push the baby out. A forceps delivery is only appropriate in a birthing center or hospital where a C-section can be done, if needed"

The Mayo Clinic also presents risks of forceps deliveries on its website. Here is an excerpt from the website for your information.

Possible risks to you include:

  • Pain in the perineum — the tissue between your vagina and your anus — after delivery
  • Lower genital tract tears and wounds
  • Difficulty urinating or emptying the bladder
  • Short-term or long-term urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Anemia — a condition in which you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your tissues — due to blood loss during delivery
  • Injuries to the bladder or urethra — the tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body
  • Uterine rupture — when the baby breaks through the wall of the uterus into the mother's abdominal cavity
  • Weakening of the muscles and ligaments supporting your pelvic organs, causing pelvic organs to slip out of place (pelvic organ prolapse)

forceps delivery A diagram of a baby being taken out with the help of forceps. Photo credit: www.familyhealthonline.ca/

Possible risks to your baby — although rare — include:

  • Minor facial injuries due to the pressure of the forceps
  • Temporary weakness in the facial muscles (facial palsy)
  • Minor external eye trauma
  • Skull fracture
  • Bleeding within the skull
  • Seizures

Keep in mind that it's always best discuss your concerns about aspects of labour and childbirth with your doctor in addition to equipping yourself with this information.

Do you have any experience with a forceps delivery?  If you like to share your experience with other parents, please do leave a comment below.

References: ABC News, The Mayo Clinic

Featured image: Screengrab - ABC News.