The Story of Juniper Jude West

OK, this just turned into an emergency c-section.

These are the last words I remember hearing the panic stricken doctor announce, just before Danielle’s bed was wheeled into the OR. Danielle was smiling at me. A yellow gown thrown at me. I’m told to follow. In seconds, I’m dressed and right behind them. I entered the OR, but immediately they ask that I wait in the hall. I have never been so scared in my life.

Standing in the hallway, panic sets in while tears stream silently down my face. My teeth chattering, my body shaking. I think I’m losing my one and only child. I think I’m losing the love of my life, the one that waited 15 years for me and me 15 years for her.

In a matter of minutes. Everything. Now nothing?

This is so fucking fucked up.

I wait… nothing… nothing… nothing… and panic increasing by the millisecond.

Finally, an older male doctor comes out into the hall to get me. His smile and voice are reassuring. This reassurance doesn’t last long. Confused by my surroundings, the lights, the sounds, I make my way over to Danielle, on my right side. She also reassures me with a smile. I want to believe her.

On my left, a baby: blue, silent, on a cold steel tray. Lost by what’s happening, I think, maybe another mother shares this room and this is her child. I beat myself of up later for this, it’s so dumb.

This madness is nothing like the C-Section portion of our our child birth class. Danielle fixates on me and telling me in her sweetest voice, “It’s ok.” She smiles, again. My reality is becoming increasingly apparent, Danielle’s remains blissfully distorted by meds.

Everything is not ok loops in my head. I don’t know if my smile is genuine enough to cover the utter distress taking over my body.

“I must remain calm, Danielle can’t know. They’re still sewing her up. She has to be calm. I have to be calm”, Internal Dialogue reminds me.

Blue baby, now surrounded by a team that’s hastily shouting, moving, compressing, bag pumps, barking orders, preparing shots of emergency drugs-

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5 BREATH”, they inflate her lungs with a bag and mask. Another does compressions.

There are beeps, clanks, shouts, bright lights, nurses, doctors, techs. Old room, table, steel, tile, sterile, paper gowns, sink, paper, nurse, counter, blood, latex, doctor, nurse, clothes, gown, blood, forceps, protractors, razors and saws. Danielle and Juniper’s blood nauseates me.


“1, 2, 3, 4, 5 BREATH”

It’s nightmarish chaos, like Cirque du Soleil meets real horror show. Nothing is real. This is real. I’m helpless.


“1, 2, 3, 4, 5 BREATH”

“Any heartbeat?” calls one.

Other responds, “Nothing.”

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5 BREATH”

I know now, I see her face. The one we caught a glimpse of on the most recent ultra-sounds. That’s Juniper Jude. That’s our little one.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5 BREATH”

“Epinephrine”, screams one.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5 BREATH”

I watch the clock. 7 minutes have gone by already.

I hear someone shout in the background,

“Has someone called the codes team.”

I know what that means. My heart is sinking, despair consumes me.

During this time, Danielle tells me she’s freezing. I alert the tech watching her. Then she says she’s going to be sick. I alert the tech that’s not truly watching her. I say it again. He hands me a vomit bag and I help her direct her head. I badger the tech. She’s cold. She’s cold. She’s cold. I must have looked truly desperate by this point. He unhurriedly gathers warm blankets to help keep her warm. He’s so calm. She’s freezing to death and he’s so calm. What’s wrong with this guy?

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5 BREATH. STILL NOTHING.”

11 minutes have passed.

Codes team arrives, noting every action taken by the staff. What a horrible fucking job to have.


The nurses diligently working to bring Juniper back to this world while the doctor that caused this mess, screams fervently,

Come on guys, this is a full-term baby.

The doctor’s voice shaking with anxiety, akin to theWicked Witch of the West, “My Career My career, it’s melting, it’s melting. The humanity.” No one expected this to happen, especially this arrogant doctor that earlier disregarded all warnings the nurses presented to her.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5 BREATH”

I say slightly louder than a whisper, “Come On Juniper”, then quiet. Danielle still isn’t aware of what’s happened.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5 BREATH”

The nurse practitioner continues her efforts and listens again, nods.

Finally, a faint heart beat. 15 minutes. A heart beat, finally. Despair lifts momentarily They intubate. Juniper is rushed off to another room in the arms of some sure footed nurse or similar.

I’m with Danielle, afraid I could still lose her. She’s still cold. She continues to vomit and the nurses and techs and doctors aren’t paying attention. I make sure she has a place to throw up. She smiles when she sees how upset I am, again reassures me. She has no idea what just happened. It will be another hour before she learns.

She rests in the birthing suite. My Mom stays with her.

I go to see Juniper in another room.

This is the story of Juniper Jude. Born at Swedish Hospital, July 17, 2019 at 7:29 AM MST, Denver, Colorado.

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