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"It’s no exaggeration that I am lucky to be alive after delivering my son, Archer," shares Lindsey Arnette in a moment of contemplative reflection.

On August 23, 2023, Lindsey's son, Archer, made his debut into the world. It was a very smooth delivery with an amazing induction experience and an effective epidural. Pain-free, Lindsey recalls laughing and joking with her husband and labor and delivery nurse, Nikki Sexton, RN, as her son was delivered.

"The care I received allowed me to nearly 'laugh him out' after only a few pushes — essentially a dream delivery."

Baby Archer with Dr. Byrd

The Tide Turns

Lindsey's dream quickly unraveled as she began to experience a massive postpartum hemorrhage — though she still felt fine and was at that moment doing skin-to-skin with newborn Archer, while attempting to see if he would latch for breastfeeding.

Yet, since Lindsey is, herself, a nurse in WakeMed's neonatal intensive care unit, she and her husband, who is also a nurse, picked up on subtle cues from Sexton that something was awry.

About 30 minutes after Archer was born, Lindsey experienced blood loss in waves of about five baseball-sized clots. The team was at the time administering fundal rubs to help Lindsey's uterus contract and slow the bleed, but she continued to lose blood.

"Nikki looked at another member of the care team and shared that she needed to go and get Dr. Bari Byrd, who had moved to another room to perform a caesarean section. Nikki's colleague replied that she would text her, to which Nikki said, 'No. Go and get her.' In that moment, my husband, Evan, also noticed that my blood loss was significant, and he had a flashback to my prior traumatic hemorrhage with our firstborn son."

Dr. Byrd and Nikki Sexton, RN

Though Evan was concerned, he too, remained calm and did what he could to console and encourage Lindsey. He was relieved that unlike the prior incident when she hemorrhaged at home about two weeks postpartum, this time, she was at WakeMed Raleigh Campus receiving the most advanced, state-of-the-art care in WakeMed's labor and delivery unit.

Calm in the Storm

As the situation grew progressively more critical, Sexton remained by Lindsey's side, ensuring she received swift and effective care, while simultaneously orchestrating all hands on deck.

Lindsey recalls, "She also offered so much comfort and support, especially to my husband, who had to watch this entire ordeal unfold with no ability to help. Nikki and Dr. Byrd were extremely vigilant in my postpartum care, given my history of a postpartum hemorrhage with my first son. Their attention-to-detail helped me survive."

Within an hour and a half, Lindsey was wheeled to the operating room, while her husband and newborn remained in the delivery room bonding with each other. Lindsey's mother was headed up for a visit, not knowing that her daughter was fighting for her life.

The team continued to administer aggressive fundal rubs to help stimulate contractions, so the uterus would clamp down and evacuate everything that needed to be removed. They also provided shots to her legs to speed up uterine contractions.

The Dam Breaks, but Hope Remains

As Lindsey continued to lose blood — about 80 percent of her total circulating blood volume — the team moved in to deliver packed red blood cells from donated blood through a peripheral intravenous catheter strapped and inserted in her arm. Lindsey received fluids, medicine and blood products intravenously through four insertions.

Lindsey continues, "I will never forget my ashen-grey reflection on the ceiling, strapped to the operating room table crucifixion style, getting worked on from every angle by an amazing team of surgeons, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) and nurses. It was such an unreal, out-of-body experience to watch myself in such a vulnerable position and not know what the outcome would be. I distinctly remember lying on that table, and Dr. Byrd looking me in the eye and saying, ‘I have been in this position before; my feet have been in these stirrups. We will get you through this.' I never doubted it for a moment."

Lindsey Arnette

At one point, the team considered a hysterectomy since Lindsey was tempting fate toward disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a clotting disorder, that could lead to her bleeding out. Since hysterectomy would present new challenges for the young mom, they instead opted for a uterine wound vacuum, which was gratefully effective in halting the bleed.

The Sun Rises Again

Lindsey and Baby Archer with care team

With tears in her eyes, recalling that experience, Lindsey shares, "I cannot emphasize enough that the swift actions of the team not only saved my uterus but saved my life and allowed me to rebound back to being Van and Archer’s mama! As a NICU nurse who works alongside these individuals, I have such a new appreciation and trust. I cannot speak highly enough of Nikki and my labor and delivery team.”

Looking back on an old photo of that time that her mother took, Lindsey notes the cheerful ambiance of her postpartum room where her husband, Evan, and her son, Archer, were pictured — without her — as she was fighting for her life.

"It's kind of eerie because it's Evan standing with Archer. Behind him, you can see that the room is empty. I was in the operating room at that point, and nobody in my family knew how dire my situation was. So, there is this beautiful picture of a father and newborn son. It was surreal, and the trauma of that experience makes me that much more thankful to be here and alive and well."

Archer recently celebrated six months of life, and Lindsey and her family continue to enjoy their lives together with much more depth of reflection that life is precious and could have been taken in a moment, if it had not been for the unparalleled care she received at WakeMed.

"Our little family is so happy and blessed. It's really a miracle I am here today."

Lindsey and Baby Archer

About WakeMed OB-GYN

At WakeMed Obstetrics & Gynecology, we provide a full range of services for women of all ages in Raleigh, Cary, Clayton, Holly Springs, North Raleigh, Brier Creek and Morrisville, North Carolina.

Our specialties include:

  • Prenatal Counseling
  • Low- and High-Risk 
  • Pregnancies
  • Infertility
  • General Gynecological Health
  • Gynecological Surgeries, including Laparoscopic Surgery
  • Maternal-Fetal Medicine
  • Urogynecology
  • Pre-Menstrual Syndrome and Other Menstrual Problems
  • Endometriosis
  • Menopause
  • Urinary Incontinence

About Bari Byrd, MD

Dr. Byrd earned her undergraduate and medical degrees from East Carolina University. She completed her residency training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a board-certified OBGYN specialist and has been has been a part of Kamm, McKenzie OBGYN since 2014.

About WakeMed NICU

Not all babies come into the world the same way. Some require physicians and nurses who specialize in high-risk obstetric care, an expert team of maternal fetal medicine specialists and the clinical expertise, vast experience and technological resources available in the neonatal nursery or intensive care.

At WakeMed, we are proud to offer high level neonatal expertise.




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