Mother Thanks Parkwest for Safe Post-COVID-19 Delivery

Labor and delivery  tends to be easier when a woman has already experienced childbirth. When you’re not a first-time mom the process is usually predictable with very few surprises. Usually. For Selene McCuin, the delivery of a fourth child at Parkwest Medical Center was anything but calm.  “On January 5, 2021, I went in to be induced with my son,” McCuin says. “During that process my uterus ruptured and I hemorrhaged.” McCuin was also coming off of a recent bout with COVID-19. It was a difficult case, but the Childbirth Center at Parkwest is equipped to handle even the most complicated cases and fight for the best outcomes for mothers and babies. “I just would like to say thank you, thank you to everyone who cared for me, who fought for me and who ultimately saved my life,” McCuin says. “I am just seriously so, so grateful, I can’t  say it enough.”

Selene holding baby Levi in hospital
Selene McCuin holding her son Levi in the hospital.

Something Wasn’t Right

Unexplained pain was the first signal that some- thing wasn’t right. McCuin’s epidural should have kept her comfortable, but it didn’t. “The pain started getting stronger and I felt something pop and was not sure what was going on,”  McCuin says. The baby’s heart rate dropped, and nurses quickly attended to the needs of the mother and yet-to-be-born child. McCuin’s physician, Stephanie Cummings, MD, was called in. Everything seemed to be normal,  but with every contraction the baby’s heart rate dropped again. Dr. Cummings and the nurses constantly checked on McCuin, offering comfort and reassurance.

Headshot of Dr. Cummings
Stephanie Cummings, MD

“Then the bleeding picked up and the pain kept getting worse…and that is when things became chaotic,” McCuin says. “The blood just started pouring out. My doctor had me attempt to push, as I was now at 10 centimeters, but no matter how hard I tried the baby would not move down.” Rushed out of the room for an emergency C-section, McCuin was frightened and didn’t completely understand what was happening. An oxygen mask was quickly placed over her mouth and nose. “At this point I knew something was wrong because they were putting me to sleep,” McCuin  says. “I woke up five days later, on a ventilator, unaware of what had happened and honestly thought it was the same day.”

After being reassured that her baby was fine, McCuin found out that her uterus had  ruptured, her blood wasn’t clotting and an emergency hysterectomy had been performed. It took a total of nine hours to bring McCuin safely through labor and delivery and stop the bleeding. “I had developed pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets [HELLP syndrome], and because of COVID my tissues and vessels, were so weak,” McCuin says. “They believed COVID was the reason things were as bad as they were.”

A Team Effort

Headshot of Holly Woodlee
Holly Woodlee,
Childbirth Manager

Holly Woodlee, nurse manager of the Childbirth Center at Parkwest, says the hospital team pulled together to give McCuin and her baby the best care possible.
“Our staff here handled it beautifully, and it was a collaboration among physicians,” says Woodlee, “not just OB/GYNs, but they also called in the gynecologic oncologist physician, they had a vascular surgeon, they had interventional radiology and all the anesthesiologists.” Parkwest was prepared for the unexpected. “I’m so proud of the team,” Woodlee says. “We would do it for any patient and we’re always ready for the ‘what if.’”

Baby Levi
Baby Levi’s name means “united in harmony.” After a complicated delivery at Parkwest, he and his mother are united with the rest of their family today.

Levi Scott McCuin is a healthy baby in every way. He loves to laugh, he loves his siblings and his mom calls him a “cuddle bug.” The process of  recovery hasn’t been easy, but today McCuin and her husband are enjoying family life with their  four children. Meanwhile, McCuin is studying to become a licensed practical nurse with a goal of  someday working as a registered nurse in labor and delivery. McCuin believes this busy and  hope-filled life might not have been possible without the quick, expert care she received from Parkwest.

“A lot of complications arose but the staff in the birthing center were so amazing!” McCuin says. “They reacted so quickly, as well as Dr. Cummings, and ultimately they saved my life!”
Parkwest is West Knoxville’s premier medical facility, recognized on state and national levels for award-winning maternity care. To learn more, visit

The Best Care

The Childbirth Center at Parkwest provides award-winning care to newborns and their mothers.  Among other honors, Parkwest has received a “BEST for Babies” designation from the Tennessee  Hospital Association and the Tennessee Department of Health. “Our staff are very committed to the whole experience for the patient,” Woodlee says. “They  realize we are stepping into one of the most monumental events in the life of the family and we  want to do everything within our control to make sure it’s an exceptional experience.” Mothers stay in a comfortable room and are able to experience labor, delivery, recovery and  postpartum all in one place. Even the nurses’ schedule is structured with the best interest of the patients in mind. “If the schedule is lined up perfectly a patient could probably have the same nurse for three days,” Woodlee says. “The patient has time to bond with her nurse. It’s really good for continuity  of care.” Nurses change shifts at the mother’s bedside so the nurse coming off duty can personally introduce  the nurse who is taking over.

For moms who want to breastfeed their new babies, Parkwest offers bedside nursing, ample  instruction and plenty of compassion. “We have three full-time lactation consultants who are devoted to their patients,” Woodlee says.  After discharge, breastfeeding mothers can bring their babies to the hospital for The Lactation  Club (TLC), a support group that includes helpful advice from a lactation consultant. These features and more, combined with access to top-rated physicians and specialists, make  Parkwest Medical Center the hospital of choice for many families. To learn more about the Childbirth Center at Parkwest, visit or call (865) 373-4299.

Join The Team

Working as a nurse in the labor and delivery department at Parkwest Medical Center is a rewarding job that brings healthcare professionals into joyful  milestone celebrations. Parkwest Childbirth Center nurse manager Holly Woodlee still remembers the  first birth she witnessed as a student, years ago. “I’ll never forget it,” Woodlee says. “You’re standing there at the end of the process and this new  life comes into the world – it’s lovely to watch.” Woodlee wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse when she was a teenager. She has continued to  follow her dream for her entire career. “I’ve never done anything else,” she says. “It’s the miracle of life, and to get to be a witness to that – even now it doesn’t get old.” If you’re interested in nursing opportunities at Parkwest Medical Center, visit