On a clear spring morning, Miranda Klassen was at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, ready to give birth to her first child. And then something went terribly wrong.
Carolyn Eoff, a labor and delivery nurse, checked Miranda and noticed some bleeding. Her obstetrician, Dane Shipp, MD, noted that the baby’s heart rate was dropping and so was Miranda’s blood pressure.
Because the baby was in distress, Dr. Shipp decided to perform an emergency caesarean section. On the way to the O.R. Miranda lost consciousness, had a seizure and went into cardiac arrest. The team went into immediate action.
“I was at the foot of the operating table performing the caesarean section,” remembers Dr. Shipp, “and my staff was at the head of the table, performing chest compressions on Miranda.”
The baby was immediately taken to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit and Miranda was placed in a medically induced coma in the ICU to help her body heal. No one knew how she would respond but, the next day, Miranda woke up. Her husband Bryce remembers walking into her room not knowing what to expect. “She used sign language to tell me ‘I love you,’ and I knew she was going to be okay.”
Miranda had suffered an amniotic fluid embolism (AFE), an extremely rare obstetric emergency. Most physicians will never encounter a case in their careers, and 80 percent of the women who experience one do not survive.
“I am so blessed to have had the exceptional care that I received at Scripps Encinitas,” says Miranda, who does not remember much about the experience.
One thing she will never forget is meeting her son Van for the first time. “The team went to great lengths to move me from the ICU to see him. When I got to hold him, I experienced such great love and unbelievable happiness,” she says.
Her thoughts have since turned to learning more about the mysterious causes of amniotic fluid embolisms, and working to prevent them from happening to other women. In January 2015, Miranda left her 20-year career in the banking industry to take on the role of executive director of the foundation she launched to provide AFE education and support.
And Bryce, inspired by the exceptional care Miranda received, became an ICU nurse who now works at Scripps Encinitas.