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Expert OB Care Helps Family Welcome Son

Savannah and Bo

Pregnancy is a happy, exciting and eventful experience for parents. Mothers spend nine months trying to do everything perfectly for the health and well-being of a new baby. Savannah and David Linenburg were excited to add a new member to their family of three. Having experienced parenthood with their nine-year-old son, J.W., the couple were excited and ready for a baby. The first few weeks went by smoothly, but then at only 24 weeks, Savannah began experiencing complications that would end up affecting the rest of her pregnancy.

Savannah Linenburg, and her husband David, work and live in Vincennes. Savannah is the Associate Director of Donor Relations and Communications at Vincennes University, and David is a Knox County Sherriff’s Deputy, Although they spent many years together as a happy family of three, the couple were excited to find out they were expecting a baby. Learning she was pregnant, Savannah decided to become a patient of Dr. Dustin Blackwell at Good Samaritan after many recommendations from friends and family. She instantly felt comfortable with him and his staff, and had an active and normal first half of her pregnancy.

On December 30, 2020, Savannah began to feel what she thought were contractions early in the morning. Her first child was born by cesarean and she had an epidural, so she wasn’t too sure what contractions were supposed to feel like. “The pain was coming and going every few minutes, so I called the hospital,” said Savannah. “Dr. Thomas O’Rourke was the physician on call and he told me to just come ahead in to get checked. I wasn’t too worried and figured I would be back home in a couple hours, so I told my husband I would drive myself and he could stay home with our son. I never really panicked at this point.”

Once she arrived at Good Samaritan, she was taken upstairs to the fifth floor to the Labor and Delivery Unit. Dr. Blackwell just happened to be there delivering a baby of another patient, so he came in and saw Savannah. She was hooked up to multiple monitors and blood tests were ran to determine if she was in labor.

“I honestly never really thought what was going on was serious,” said Savannah. “I just kept thinking everything was normal and I was just experiencing some discomfort because my age and being older during this pregnancy.”

Savannah’s thoughts began to change when Dr. Blackwell came back in the room breathless from running from his office to the hospital across the street. The tests had confirmed that she was in fact going into labor and quick action needed to be taken. Dr. Blackwell had a quick plan of action and within seconds, nurses started new medications to help stop labor.

Immediately, staff swooped into action and began to get Savannah ready to be transferred to Deaconess where a Level III NICU was available in case of delivery. “It was then that I began to worry. I tried to think back about what I could have done differently or maybe I didn’t do something right. I was just panicking about everything,” remembered Savannah. “It was so scary, but the OB nurses at Good Samaritan helped so much. I was crying and they were holding my hand, rubbing my back and giving me hugs. As women and as mothers, they just knew how I felt and for them to take the time to comfort me, meant the world. They treated me as a person and not just as a patient.”

Because of her high risk of preterm delivery, Dr. Blackwell decided Savannah needed to be transferred to another facility. “Here at Good Samaritan, we are able to care for moms of all gestational ages,” he said. “If delivery is imminent or needs to happen urgently, because we have a Level II Nursery and trained staff, we are capable of providing this service at 32 weeks gestation. However, given that Savannah was only around 24 weeks, delivering a baby at that gestation requires intensive NICU care that we do not currently have at Good Samaritan. Transferring her care meant that mom and baby could be cared for and stay together.”

Dr. Blackwell and the nurses at Good Samaritan had already been in contact with Dr. Spencer Kuper from Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana. They discussed Savannah’s care and came up with a plan before she left Vincennes. Savannah and David made it safely to Deaconess where Dr. Kuper’s team was able to stop labor and monitor the baby. After spending the New Year in the hospital, Savannah was discharged to go home on January 3. “I was released home for only 24 hours when I stood up and felt something running down my leg,” said Savannah. “I knew it wasn’t normal and that I was probably leaking amniotic fluid. Within 10 minutes we were back on the road to Deaconess.”

When Savannah and David arrived at Deaconess, it was confirmed that Savannah was in fact leaking amniotic fluid, which was a sign that she was once again going into early labor. The doctors and neonatal team came in and prepared the couple for the worst-case scenario. “They explained to us how life would be having a preterm baby and all the health complications we would face,” said Savannah. “In my head I was trying to come up with a plan to take off work and make sure someone was able to watch our other son and prepare for any situation in a very short amount of time.”

Thankfully, Savannah’s amniotic sac healed and she was discharged from Deaconess to go home 10 days later. With the coordination and communication between both Dr. Blackwell and Dr. Kuper from Deaconess, Savannah was able to surpass the physicians’ goal of 32 weeks and was induced at Good Samaritan at 39 weeks.

Bo David Linenburg was born at 6:14 p.m. on April 15, 2021 at eight pounds, 11 ounces and 20 inches long, with no complications. Although his arrival into the world was a bit unnerving for his parents, Bo is now two months old and thriving. “Big brother likes him, until Bo crys a lot,” laughed Savannah. “It is just crazy to think about everything we went through. We were prepared to meet a preterm baby. But, because of everyone’s care, I was able to deliver here. I have so many things to say about Dr. Blackwell and the OB staff at Good Samaritan. They are amazing!”

Many nurses and other employees on the OB floor remembered when Savannah first came into the hospital on December 30 and stopped by to congratulate the new parents. “The level of personalized care I received is not something that you can get anywhere. Good Samaritan is a hidden gem in Knox County,” said Savannah. “The fact that so many employees remembered and cared enough to check in and wanted to see our little baby warms my heart. People don’t realize how fortunate we are to have our hospital.”