CROWN POINT | Stacy Martinez recently received a new gift of life that staff members at Franciscan St. Anthony Health Crown Point are calling a miracle.
Martinez, 25, of Cedar Lake, had just undergone a Cesarean section, giving birth to twin girls, when she suddenly became unresponsive. Her heart had stopped. It was surmised she had suffered an amniotic embolism, which left her chances of survival at about 40 percent, at best.
A handful of Obstetrics Unit nursing staff members are among a larger group of nurses and physicians being credited for helping Martinez beat the odds, although they refuse to accept kudos, instead crediting “a higher power” and prayer for an outcome that “was very much a miracle.”
So much so that one of them, registered nurse Kim Federico, had a “BELIEVE” symbol made, to which she attached inspirational words she penned, and presented to Martinez during a recent, tearful reunion with the nurses.
“All of us never stopped praying for you,” Federico said, adding, “I never wanted to see a mom again as much as I wanted to see you. I kept telling you, ‘please don’t go, you have two beautiful new daughters.’ You are our miracle.”
Federico, along with registered nurses Jessica Jenkins and Kelley Thompson and registered nurse anesthetist Jason Ramaker, said they had difficulty sleeping, eating and concentrating as they worried about Martinez after she was stabilized (her heart was restarted after about six minutes) and then transferred, still unresponsive, to the University of Chicago hospitals.
Kathy Podorsek, unit director, lauds the nurses’ efforts, along with those of the other staff members that day.
“The patient and her friend (Martinez’s husband is in the military and wasn’t able to be on hand until later) were chatting right after the delivery when things suddenly went bad.
“A code was called. Kim and Kelley, both Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurses, and OB nurse Sheila Steward, alternated doing CPR,” Podorsek said.”
Once Martinez was intubated and had regular heart rhythm, surgery was completed and she was transferred to the University of Chicago, treated and discharged four days later.
“It sounds like the story of someone else,” Martinez said, adding she has no recollection of her ordeal, although she did recall Ramaker, “who looks a lot like someone I know.”
Martinez is a former U.S. Army combat medic, as is her husband, Jason, based in Texas. After learning of his family’s plight, however, the military has decided to transfer him to the Chicago area.
“We’ve always had a strong faith, and what happened has made it stronger,” Martinez said, marveling at the number of people praying for her. “So many people I don’t even know cared so much. I am so touched, so grateful.
“I want to thank you guys for saving my life,” Martinez said, through tears. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.”
The Martinez twins, Mila and Scarlett, have two siblings, Jacob, 3, and Lilliana, 18 months.