When Margate resident Kia Hunter Joseph went into labor with her third child in March 2023, she didn’t realize how different this birthing experience would be compared to her previous two.
Joseph was in her 39th week of pregnancy when she started leaking fluid. Unlike in her prior pregnancies, she didn’t feel any contractions, so at first, she didn’t recognize this as an early sign of labor.
Later that evening, she started feeling contractions that were increasing in intensity. She called her doctor, Jessica White Videa, D.O., and was told to go to the hospital. Dr. Videa was out of town, but her partner was on call and planning on delivering Kia’s baby.
It was about 5 a.m. on a Sunday when Joseph and her husband, Garaudy, arrived at Broward Health Coral Springs, where she was admitted to a labor and delivery room. While she was being connected to monitors and an IV was placed, she started feeling a familiar pressure that let her know her baby was coming soon.
“The nurse who was with me checked my progress and the baby was right there,” Joseph recalled. “There was no time for an epidural or even for my doctor to arrive. But my nurse was so encouraging. She was like, ‘you’ve got this.’ The staff was very supportive and despite all, the delivery went quite smoothly.”
Antonia Zecevic, M.D., OBGYN hospitalist, whose job is to help women while their doctor is unavailable or unable to reach the hospital in time, helped Joseph to safely deliver. While things happened a little earlier and quicker than the doctor expected, Joseph had a normal vaginal delivery and welcomed a 6-pound, 6-ounce baby girl named Amai.
“There is an increased risk of infection when there is more than a 24-hour time delay between when a mother’s water breaks and the delivery,” said Dr. Zecevic. “It’s easy to see how Kia missed the signs this time after having two prior births in which it was very different. Fortunately, when she recognized she was in active labor, she got to the hospital quickly and an OBGYN hospitalist like me, was available to perform the delivery.”
Risk of infection was a concern because Joseph, like an estimated 25% of women, tested positive for Group B Strep. To avoid the infection being passed to babies, pregnant women who carry the bacteria are usually given an antibiotic during labor. In Joseph’s case, since she labored quickly once arriving to the hospital, she wasn’t able to get the full course of antibiotic before delivering her baby.
The hospital’s protocol in such circumstances is to place babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) so they can be tested for the bacteria and monitored for signs of infection. Joseph remembers the NICU nurses and neonatologists Eduardo A. Otero, M.D., and Andres Rodriguez, M.D., fondly.
“After a healthy pregnancy and two previous trouble-free births, I was not mentally prepared for Amai to go to the NICU. It was unexpected and I was very emotional at first,” Joseph said. “But the NICU nurses were amazing, and Dr. Otero and Dr. Rodriguez were so kind and patient, walking me and my husband through every step of the process.”
The baby’s blood culture came back positive for the strep infection. The hospital ran the test a second time to confirm, and it was positive again. Even though Amai was not showing any symptoms, the decision was made to be cautious, start her on antibiotics and keep her in the NICU for seven days for treatment and monitoring while she fought the infection.
Despite the extended stay, Joseph says this was an amazing birthing experience.
“I would definitely recommend The Maternity Place to any woman wanting to give birth,” said Joseph. “This is the ideal place, and I wish everyone who cared for us the best. My family and I will never forget this journey, and our care team will always have a special place in our hearts.”
To learn more about Broward Health’s personalized maternity services, visit www.BrowardHealth.org/Maternity.