Kansas woman thanks Lantz a lot
A Kansas infant, now five months old, owes her life to New Castle nurse Tina Lantz, who delivered the premature baby on the floor of Tampa International Airport.
Lantz, an intensive care nurse at Valley View Hospital, was on her way home to New Castle last Oct. 28 after visiting her parents in Tampa, Fla.
With about a half hour until her flight left, she headed to the rest room to change her 10-month-old baby’s diapers. But as she neared the rest room she saw an empty wheelchair and a man on a cell phone.
There was also a woman lying on the floor at the entrance to the rest room.
She went over to help.
“I put my hand on her leg and said, `I’m a nurse. Can I help you?'” Lantz said.
The woman, Brenda Cary, of Wichita, Kan., said, “I’m seven months pregnant.”
Lantz asked Cary to roll over on her left side, knowing that would increase the circulation for both the mom and the baby.
“As I was turning her, she said, `The baby’s coming.’ And it came, in less than a minute. I had no time to be afraid,” Lantz said.
The premature baby girl, who later weighed in at 3 pounds, 7 ounces, came into the world with the umbilical cord wrapped twice around her neck.
“She was not breathing. I just slipped the cord over her head. It wasn’t tight,” Lantz said.
She also noticed the baby’s nose and mouth were filled with amniotic fluid. She grabbed her diaper bag to find the bulb syringe she kept there for her son Carson. But she fumbled and the bulb bounced across the floor.
Lantz remembered that a nursing school teacher told her that if a suction instrument was not available in an emergency birth, the nurse should clear the baby’s air passages with her mouth.
“I knew I had to suction, so I sucked and spat, sucked and spat,” she said. “I’d seen a normal birth in 1989 while I was in nursing school. I’m not an OB nurse.”
But she wanted with all her heart to give the baby a chance to live, she said.
“I watched for breath. She had a heartrate. She took what I call an agonal breath, then she didn’t breathe at all,” she said.
“I started mouth-to-mouth,” she said, in hopes of getting the baby to breathe.
“I cried out for oxygen, but none came,” she said.
The baby’s trunk, face and limbs turned blue.
Then a woman, waiting to get on the same flight as Lantz, stepped up and asked what she could do.
Meanwhile, Cary’s father, Fred Dehring, was on the phone with paramedics. Through him, they instructed the bystander to cut the umbilical cord.
Soon after, the paramedics themselves showed up on the scene. Lantz immediately asked them for oxygen.
Again, Lantz remembered her training. Instead of putting the oxygen mask over the baby’s mouth, she passed it across the baby’s face, a procedure known as a “blow-by.”
“The baby pinked up right away,” she said.
Then more help showed up. An obstetrician, standing in line for a flight, rushed over when she heard a general page for a doctor.
“We all gave such a sigh of relief,” Lantz said. “I thought, `Yeah, I’m not alone.'”
The doctor pronounced that the baby was doing fine. Paramedics whisked her off to St. Joseph’s Woman’s Hospital, a five-minute ride away.
Lantz also made her flight. Upon hearing about the emergency, the airport manager held up the Delta flight to Denver for her, she said.
It was not until the flight was half over that Lantz relaxed. But she couldn’t stop thinking about Brenda Cary and her baby.
Lantz used her cell phone to call St. Joseph’s and learned that mother and baby were in the intensive care unit and doing fine.
The traumatic birth and Lantz’ role in it created a strong bond between her and Cary, and daughter Allison Christina. For Lantz, it’s a bond that won’t soon be broken.
They speak on the phone often and Brenda sends pictures of Allison.
“I told Brenda I want to be at (Allison’s) high school graduation; I want to be at her wedding. I want to be at her first day of kindergarten,” Lantz said.
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