Erica Morales Delivers Four Babies and Then Dies: Another Pregnancy Tragedy

Erica Morales’ last Facebook message was dated January 15th and simply said, “Prayers please. 5 o’clock C Section.” Now, she speaks from Heaven.

Erica was 36 year old and wanted to become a mother after marrying her soul mate, Carols, in 2007. She worked at the University of Phoenix and was also a real estate agent. Carlos worked in manufacturing. Like millions of other couples, they desired a family but encountered stumbling blocks. Through infertility treatments, their dream came true. Erica became pregnant with four babies.

Carrying four babies at the age of 36 is a serious affair, especially if it’s a first pregnancy. One anticipates that the babies will come early and the risk of developing high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia is significant.

Pre-eclampsia is a deadly pregnancy condition that involves high blood pressure, swelling and protein in the urine. It can cause strokes and women die. The only treatment is delivering the baby because there is something in the placenta that keeps the blood pressure high until it is removed.

Although the hospital will not release the cause of death because of patient privacy issues, one can assume that Erica possibly died from either pre-eclampsia or a hemorrhage. Her blood pressure was reportedly 190/90 which caused her to be admitted to the hospital at 31 weeks. She had a cesarean section and according to her best friends, “never got a chance to hold the babies.”She delivered at a hospital that has high risk specialists so it’s assumed that she received the best care however I do have some concerns:

• I hope the decision to deliver the babies wasn’t delayed because of their prematurity
• I hope someone recognized the subtle signs of pre-eclampsia
• I hope the hospital did simulations or practice drills prior to Erica’s delivery in anticipation of a potential problem

Despite all of our medical advances and sophisticated technology, women are still dying in childbirth. It’s frustrating and it hurts.

Pregnancy for Sale

 

Being told that your body will never be able to reproduce is beyond painful – I’ve been there. But should procreation become a business at any cost?
In a recent New York Times article, we are introduced to a gay couple from Portugal who became parents through surrogacy because it was illegal in their country. According to the article, the United States is one of the few countries that allow paid surrogacy.

While parenthood through surrogacy has become increasingly popular, especially among celebrities, it is not without risk. Contrary to what people believe, there are a greater percentage of intended parents who abandon and reject the babies or pregnancies than there are surrogate mothers who refuse to relinquish their maternal rights after the baby is born. It seems that everyone wants a “perfect” baby which is totally unrealistic.

The thought of “paying” more money for eggs and sperm of models and Ivy League grads is sickening. What do you do if the child doesn’t get into Harvard? Ask for a refund? The article discusses a case where a couple wanted a surrogate mother to terminate the pregnancy at 21 weeks because the fetus appeared to have a cleft palate which later proved to be wrong.

Babies who are born in the U.S. and brought back to foreign countries by their international parents face a myriad of problems. Is the baby a U.S. citizen or a citizen of the parents’ country? For gay international couples, some countries will not provide a birth certificate unless there is a mother and father identified, not two fathers or two mothers.

The cost of surrogacy is not cheap and amounts as high as $150,000 has been quoted. These fees include the cost of the surrogate mother, the donor eggs and the agencies involved. At present, this “industry” remains unregulated, partly because it comes under the jurisdiction of state law. Therefore, there is no protection for the surrogate mother, the intended parents or the baby.

Since the Supreme Court has such a profound interest in a woman’s body regarding who pays for her birth control, they might also be interested in what happens to babies born on U.S. soil who are taken abroad.

Does the United States really want to be viewed by the world as a breeding ground for hire? Please share your thoughts.

 

Are Military Pregnant Wives More at Risk for Death From Medical Mistakes?

Keeping secrets can literally kill, especially in healthcare. The New York Times article, In Military Care, a Pattern of Errors but Not Scrutiny had me trembling with shame. No, I didn’t have any direct involvement with the death of Jessica Zeppa, a 21-year-old wife of an active serviceman who was 5 months pregnant, or the brain-damage of Justen Guill, whose dad served in Iraq for 18 months, or Stephanie King, wife of an army officer serving in Iraq, whose son was born with an infection and treated with an antibiotic that caused deafness. In each of these cases, the women were sent home inappropriately by hospital staff when they should have been admitted. No one read their prenatal charts that documented Group B infection, or read their hospital lab reports that indicated significant infection.

In the case of Justen’s birth, the electronic fetal monitor sounded its alarm 32 times warning that his heart rate was too slow and despite the nurses calling the physician on numerous occasions, he showed up 3 hours later to do a cesarean section which was too little and too late because the damage was done. Justen will never walk, or talk, or feed himself. Jessica Zeppa and her unborn baby will never return from the grave into the loving arms of her family. Stephanie King’s son was perhaps, the lucky one because he received a cochlea implant at the age of one and can now hear.

Although these families received a financial settlement, it will never restore these families back to their original state of health and well-being. According to The New York Times, 5 out of every 1,000 births in a military hospital experienced birth trauma; mothers are 40% more likely to experience post-partum hemorrhage that leads to hysterectomies and sometimes death. Instrument deliveries such as vacuum extractors or forceps leads to 15% more injuries than in civilian hospitals and I could go on and on.

The tragedy is not just in the injuries but also in the cover-up that has occurred as well as the battle of the egos between physicians and administrators. To his credit, Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has ordered an investigation, however we all know that change and improvement is not instantaneous. It is slow and sometimes cumbersome, especially in bureaucracies.

If you are a pregnant military wife or girlfriend, “Like” my fan page on Facebook and then contact me on my website if you have any questions or concerns.

I care about you as a pregnant woman. I care about your unborn child. I care about you as my sister in this journey called Life.