At MU Health Care, our goal is to empower women with choice and support throughout their entire pregnancy and birthing experience. And because no two pregnancies are alike, we did a quick Q&A with a few moms to learn more about their experiences and see what that support looked like for them. From why they chose MU Health Care to what it was like meeting their baby for the first time, here's what the moms had to say:
What made you choose to deliver at MU Health Care?
Cassie: We chose MU for the midwives. We drive 45 minutes, and it’s worth every mile. The care these women provide is unmatched!
Erin: I was challenged to find a new doctor when my family switched to private health insurance. And after many surprises with my firstborn, I decided it was best to seek a new OB team. I knew many high-risk cases were referred to MU Health Care for extraordinary, research-driven care. Though my baby and I were not high-risk, my family and I decided there was no reason why I shouldn’t choose this impeccable care as well.
What was your labor like?
Cassie: The labor and delivery for both my boys were similar but different. They both were "fast and furious." And we used the comfort measures of the hydrotherapy tub to cope. I loved having so much freedom to labor and such intimate periods with just my husband.
Erin: I was induced with my second, due to polyhydramnios (excessive amniotic fluid) protocols at that time. My baby was often breech because of this, which was safely tracked throughout the last trimester. This often sends the delivery team straight to the operating room for a C-section, which I was hoping to avoid because of the difficult recovery. I was blessed with an OB who thought outside the box and safely performed a successful external cephalic version, or ECV, to turn the baby. We were counseled that these do not have the highest success rate and could result in an emergency cesarean. Knowing this, my OB was eager to exert the extra muscle power — literally — and rally together a team of providers for the slightest chance of avoiding a lengthy recovery. They prepared efficiently, tracked my baby's heart rate constantly and delivered the epidural to ensure my comfort and further encourage a successful outcome during the version. After just a couple minutes, our baby flipped from a cannonball to the perfect dive! The entire crew celebrated with cheers but didn’t miss a beat and immediately broke my water then sent me back to progress toward delivery. The medications associated with inducing are not always fun, but the successful epidural allowed my body to maintain strength, get some rest and prepare for the big finale of bringing little man into the world. The Pitocin wasn't working as quickly as we hoped, but the entire team communicated exceptionally well together to find a change in position to encourage progression. I felt so safe the entire time.
How was the delivery?
Cassie: With Henry, we struggled with minor shoulder dystocia – his shoulder got caught above my pubic bone – and pushing was extra tough. The care team was very prepared, and my midwife didn't blink an eye or show fear in her voice which made me trust we could get this baby out safely — and we did! With Tommy, we were able to immediately have skin-to-skin contact and let the cord pulse until limp while breastfeeding, and it was heaven.
Erin: Delivery was fast. The team ensured I was ready to push, which was not well confirmed with my firstborn. This, again, allowed my body to avoid excessive fatigue and bring little dude into the world with safe, strong pushes. The communication of the entire staff was outstanding — from offering explanations of what I should be feeling to preparations among each other for the next step. The safety and confidence I felt in my care team allowed me to focus, not stress, and allowed my husband to support, not fear.
What was your favorite part of your birthing experience?
Cassie: The calm after the storm: The moment you, your husband and your new miracle have settled and it's quiet and you can soak in the realization that you and your birth team succeeded in a healthy birth experience.
Erin: Honestly, it sounds crazy, but the successful ECV. The many caregivers present for the procedure and the genuine joy on their faces after they moved our baby boy into the proper position was so humbling. I knew this crew wanted nothing but a safe delivery for my family and was going to do all they could to ensure it. From that point, I felt nothing but confidence. How cool, right, to have ZERO fear during delivery? My husband and I could focus on the amazing experience of bringing another blessing to our family.
What was it like meeting your child for the first time?
Cassie: The eye contact a new born baby makes with you for the first time is so memorable. The feel of their skin and sound of their cry is imprinted instantly in your heart.
Erin: Seeing our baby safe in my arms is the most magical, indescribable experience. But the best part to me has always been the first opening of their eyes. Though I know their vision is minimal at this point, it is the most humbling blessing to see this tiny human look up with nothing but love and trust in you. The world stops, and perspective completely shifts. We have three healthy, thriving children. And I will never forget this moment of literal love at first sight with each of them.
What would you recommend to first-time moms for their labor and delivery experience?
Cassie: Be informed and confident. Trust your body and trust your midwives to want the best for both of you. Don't let your instincts be pushed aside. You can have the birth of your dreams AND a healthy baby.
Erin: Be certain you are not only comfortable, but confident with your OB and the support team. All of the advice to pack extra ChapStick, snacks for dad and nonslip slippers amount to nothing in the heat of bringing your little one into the world. God blessed my family with the most patient, educated team that understood my family's beliefs and actually valued them through my maternal care. My family will be forever grateful for the ability to enjoy these lifetime moments provided by my OB and all of MU Health Care.