Tonawanda News

Local News

February 4, 2008

TONAWANDAS: Suddenly single dad

When a woman in her late 30s becomes pregnant, her doctor typically is more guarded about the unborn baby’s health. Later-life pregnancies are considered high risk for a number of reasons.

One-month-old Rebecca Ripson came into the world in perfect condition.

It’s her mom who didn’t make it.

Patricia A. White, 38, died shortly after giving birth Dec. 29 at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. Last-minute complications took her life on what should have been a day of pure joy.

“She never even got to see the baby,” White’s fiancé, David Ripson Jr., said.

Throughout her pregnancy, Patty’s health apparently was not in question. She was enrolled in Children’s high risk program because the combination of her age and prior history — two miscarriages — recommended an extra-watchful eye be kept on the baby.

Patty carried Rebecca to full term without incident and was, in fact, four days overdue when her doctor recommended induced labor. Again, with older mothers, the risks to the unborn child are considered greater.

Patty checked into the hospital Dec. 28 and was given a hormone that did not help nature take its course. The next morning, she received a stronger hormone that started labor almost instantly. Within a couple hours of the medication, her water broke — and a medical crisis erupted.

Dave’s mom, Rhonda Ripson, said Patty complained of sudden, unbearable pain shortly after her water broke. Meantime, Rebecca’s heart rate was dropping from oxygen loss, so the obstetrician ordered an emergency Caesarian section.

When Rebecca was born at 2:09 p.m., a nurse reported to Dave that mother and child had come through just fine.

About a half-hour later, Dave was still in a nearby waiting room with his parents, eager to see Patty and their baby girl, when a “code blue” alert went out.

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