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Ready for the Unexpected

Sometimes mothers’ original choices aren’t possible once labor begins. That happened for Megan Lammers, 29, who wanted to manage pain with an epidural. As the anesthesiologist was administering it, Megan’s heart rate dropped, so the staff laid her down. The next time nurses checked, the baby’s head was “right there.” Four minutes later, Isabel entered the world. The umbilical cord had wrapped twice around her tiny neck. She had swallowed fluid, and tests revealed she had low oxygen levels and pneumonia. Isabel remained in GSH’s Level II Special Care Nursery on antibiotics for a week while Megan returned home.

Although such a birth wasn’t in her plan, Megan was glad she was at GSH, where Dr. Shelly Joiner “acted so quickly and took care of me, dealing with the unexpected.” Dr. Joiner stresses that birthing plans “give families some control over the birth so it’s not so physician guided. Our patients understand those plans aren’t written in stone. Things can happen, so we adjust the plan for the safety of mother and baby.”

“Good Samaritan’s Level II Nursery allows babies who need extra care, perhaps for mild breathing problems, to stay near mom,” says obstetrician Dr. Bhadresh Doshi. Adds obstetrician Dr. Kamlesh Sanghvi, “If an emergency C-section is needed, the dedicated OR is steps away.”

The Lammers family would recommend GSH, hands down. “The staff welcomed all my family, and even found coloring books and crayons for our 2½-year-old son,” says Megan. “The nurses were loving, calm and good-humored.”

Although Danae Garcia-Valentine’s birthing experience was more “ordinary,” she agrees her care after the birth of her daughter, Kera Elise, on February 14 was extraordinary. Danae arrived at GSH only 2 centimeters dilated. Because of a winter storm, however, the staff did not want her to drive home over icy roads, so her doctor induced labor. To help Danae, 24, dilate more quickly, they asked her to walk around. In a comfort bag they provided, her husband found a hand-held massager, which he used on her back until she was ready for the epidural. Among Danae’s most vivid memories is one labor nurse: “so sweet, who rubbed my back and played with my hair while I was in labor.”

When her baby had trouble latching on correctly during feeding, a Lactation Consultant helped Danae with new techniques for nursing. Danae was grateful when the consultant called several times to check on her at home. Summing up these families’ Good Samaritan experience, Robyn says, “Everyone was so respectful of our choices that we never felt like patients in a hospital, but like a family who had just given birth.”