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An Empowered Birth

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An Empowered Birth

When Samantha Guidry found out she was expecting her third boy, she wasn’t all that surprised! The Y chromosome prevails on both hers and her husband’s sides of the family. And while she wasn’t able to control the sex of her baby, she was determined to do everything she could to have the birth experience she deserved.

With two traumatic deliveries in her past, one in which she had a hemorrhage and the other in which she was medically induced with little communication or support from the hospital staff regarding their protocols and hospital procedures, Samantha set to work researching hospitals and obstetricians (OB) that would meet her needs.

Soon enough, she landed on Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC), mainly because of its established neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and Sweet Success program for women with gestational diabetes, which she had in a previous pregnancy, so she knew she had a high possibility of being diagnosed with it again. She then found her OB, Dr. Stephanie Cropper, whom she was able to build a great relationship with over the next few months. She felt confident that Dr. Cropper knew and respected her birth plan, delivery desires and communication needs.

After days of being in and out of our labor triage unit for false labor and low fetal movement in mid-August, Samantha was finally admitted to PVHMC’s Women’s Center in the early morning hours of Wednesday, August 18. With a migraine and a gestational diabetes diagnosis, it was important to monitor her care as a migraine is a risk factor for pregnancy-associated complications such as preeclampsia.

To help ease her migraine and labor pain, Samantha’s labor nurse, Wendy, immediately offered her an aromatherapy patch, dimmed the lights, covered her eyes and put together an ice pack for her.

“Wendy had an incredibly kind bedside manner and was so informative,” said Samantha. “She was proactive in asking about my birth plan, explaining all of my pain-management options and not pressuring or coercing me to have an epidural. She was open-minded and didn’t second guess my choices, like having my IV placed in my hand to give me more mobility, or to use a birthing ball during labor. I truly felt that my care was not one-size-fits-all and that Wendy respected me as a patient.”

Upon admission, Samantha’s husband and doula were able to join her in the labor and delivery room. As her doula coached her through labor, she decided to try PVHMC’s new nitrous oxide option for pain relief. While she found the nitrous oxide to be tricky to time with contractions during the end-stages of her labor, she says it did take the edge off of the pain and would recommend it to women in their early- to mid-stages of labor who are seeking a non-invasive, non-narcotic option for pain-relief.

Just hours later, at 5:00 pm, baby Kellen came into the world. Samantha was grateful to be able to hold him in the skin-to-skin “golden hour” immediately after his delivery.

“Being able to hold my baby in the moments after his birth was such a joy,” she says. “But my care didn’t stop there. While they took his vitals, I was able to take the time I needed to then deliver my placenta without feeling rushed or pressured into taking Pitocin.”

“My postpartum stay was the best I have ever had,” adds Samantha. “From my nurses, like Margaret, to my lactation consultant, all of the staff were attentive, warm, informative and genuinely checked in on the needs of myself and my husband. And it spoke volumes that they didn’t rush me to leave before I felt comfortable going home.”