Andi was 37 weeks pregnant with her second child when she went into labor.

“They did their tests and everything was fine,” Andi said of being admitted to Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center.

“And then, suddenly, it was not fine.”

An emergency C-section was performed. When little Penelope was born, Andi could hear the concerned chatter on the other side of the medical drape.

“I knew something was wrong,” said Andi, who eventually learned her daughter, nicknamed Penny, initially didn’t have a pulse.

There was a flurry of adrenaline shots and chest compressions. After 8 minutes, Penny finally had a pulse. Andi credits the staff – who also employed a cooling treatment to avert brain damage ¬– with saving her baby’s life.

They also helped save Andi’s emotional well-being.

“The anesthesia doctor was amazing,” Andi said. “He sat there with me and held my hand.”

Andi was also touched by the compassion provided by a particular nurse.

“She came up and said, ‘It’s OK for you to cry,’ ” Andi remembered. “I just lost it because I was trying to figure out what was going on.”

This nurse stayed to support Andi in the recovery room. Andi wondered aloud if she could have done things differently.

“She kind of stepped in and was like, ‘You can’t think like that. Nothing you did could have changed the outcome of this.’ She was really, really sweet.”

That compassion was critical to Andi during her ordeal.

“That’s what you need,” Andi said. “You don’t need it all robotic. You need something for them to show that they actually care.”

While Penny didn’t initially have a good prognosis, now, “everything is perfect,” Andi says. Penny is a jubilant, healthy 10-month-old. “There’s no issues whatsoever.”

“Whatever they did, it saved her,” she said.

Health First

Founded in 1995, Health First is Brevard County's not-for-profit, community healthcare system. The fully Integrated Delivery Network (IDN) includes health insurance plans, hospitals, a multi-specialty medical group, and outpatient and wellness services.