Editor’s note: Presence Health is a sponsor of Chambanamoms.com.
If there is one overriding aspect of giving birth at Presence Covenant Medical Center, it is this:
“We really pride ourselves on that family centered care,” said Kelly McPherson, who has 20 years of maternal/child care experience and started at Presence in 1997.
Examples are numerous but perhaps none more important than the immediate aftermath of birth.
“The care that they give is definitely focused on mother-baby bonding the entire time,” said Cathy Hinton, a veteran midwife who was also a labor and delivery nurse at Presence for eight years. “Their goal is for the mom and the baby never to be separated.”
Whether a vaginal birth or Caesarean section, the baby is – assuming everything goes smoothly – immediately returned to the mother for skin-on-skin contact.
“We allow one family member to be in the operating room during the delivery process, and we don’t separate,” McPherson said. “The baby is born, we check over the baby, make sure he or she is doing well, and then we put the baby up on mom’s chest while she’s still undergoing her surgery. Her support person is right there with her; it’s always a great photo opportunity. We’ve actually had a few babies latch on and breast feed right there in the OR. We try to get them skin to skin regardless of how they deliver. We don’t want to separate them.
“The nice thing, too, is everybody stays together and then goes back to the mom’s room to recover together. We don’t separate mom and baby for recovery.”
That theme is consistent throughout the baby’s stay at Presence.
“The babies never go to the nursery unless they have to go to the special care nursery,” Hinton said. “They never go to the nursery for just routine recovery, whether it’s a vaginal or a C-section.”
And, if special hospital care is required for the baby after the mother has been discharged, the mother can stay in a room at Presence for free, McPherson said.
“So they never have to leave their baby, which is really, really nice,” McPherson said. “We want them to be involved. We encourage siblings to visit. We have a pretty open visitation as far as that goes. Everybody can be involved.”
Presence offers other options during the birthing process that parents often find appealing. One is a delayed cord-cutting.
“Pretty much all of our OBs are now waiting at least a minute to actually clamp and cut the cord,” McPherson said. “Especially during a Caesarean they’ll actually milk the cord so the blood that’s in the cord will go right back into the baby. Research has shown there’s a lot of benefit to that. Now if the baby is in stress and we need to intervene quickly, they’re not going to get that benefit. A lot of parents have done their research and they are requesting that.”
McPherson said the team at Presence sees its duty as one of providing support and education throughout the birth process. It is good to have a plan, and many parents have done that research and fashioned an idea of what they’re seeking during birth. It is important, however, to keep in mind that babies often have their own plans.
“I would always say it’s good to have a plan, but plans don’t always pan out,” McPherson said. “We want to give everybody the best experience they can have but sometimes babies do other things. It’s hard because if things don’t go the way you plan or hope, I think you feel a certain sense of defeat. Most of the time there’s really nothing you can do about it as a mom. So many times we see moms who are so upset by that. I can’t emphasize enough that birth is an unexpected process. We can try to stay on track but it just doesn’t always work out that way.”
Which is why it is comforting that Presence embraces the support role it plays, whether it is through breastfeeding resources and education, birthing options, or support for families who might be experiencing the joy and challenges of childbirth for the first time.
“I feel like it’s a very family friendly facility,” Hinton said. “Obviously the care is very personalized (for) each particular person, depending on what their needs are.”