Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Since I’ve been home I’ve been reflecting on Cohen’s birth experience and comparing it with Cora’s.  It was obviously different in that I had no complications in surgery this time---Praise God!  I was awake for the entire birth this time around and was able to take things in and really focus on what was going on.  After considering all that has happened in both experiences, and most importantly, the wonderful children I have received, I think I’m going to end on a good note.


When we were getting ready to deliver Cora, we had planned to have her at Erlanger East. We’d taken all our childbirth classes there, had toured the facility, and had the benefit of it being within walking distance to my doctor’s office.  Plus, lots of my friends had delivered their babies there and were really pleased with their experience.  Unfortunately, as we got close to Cora’s due date and discovered we were going to have to have a c-section and have it fast, we were forced to go to the hospital with the first available OR.  That put us at Parkridge East, several miles away from doc’s office, and at last minute, him on his own with the nurses and anesthesiologist in the OR.  When complications arose, it was a bit of time before his partner could arrive to help…first of a big difference in the two hospitals. 


After Cora was born and I’d had my stay at Parkridge East, I felt pretty good about the care I’d received.  My evening nurses were especially good.  My favorite was a girl named“V”.  I’ve forgotten what the v stood for but remember it was a difficult name to pronounce.  I do remember she treated me and Cora almost like family, making us feel comfortable and well cared for.  I remember a labor nurse I had at Parkridge as well and do not carry fond memories of her.  She seemed very task-oriented and less personable.  For a girl about to have surgery for the first time and deliver her first baby, I needed someone to put me at ease and this girl was not that person.


Being a creature of habit, when it was time for Cohen’s birth, I wanted to go back to Parkridge East because I knew how things were done there and despite the one labor nurse, I’d had a pretty good experience and thought that was the place to be.  My doctor preferred Erlanger East, especially with what had happened to me in Cora’s birth, so that he could be close enough to come check on me if anything should go wrong this time.  (not that he was expecting anything).  So, we scheduled delivery of Cohen to take place at Erlanger East.


From the very start, 5:30 a.m. on a Monday morning, I realized that I was in a very special place.  The three nurses who prepped me for surgery were about to get off of night shift.  Laura, Rachel and Alicia made me feel like I was the only patient they were taking care of and that they truly cared about my comfort and baby Cohen.  Alicia was especially bubbly, which was exactly what I needed to help me relax and ease some of my fear.  When 7 o’clock hit and the day shift rotation came in, again, I was blessed with kind and considerate nurses.  My parents and in-laws were in the room with us waiting…they were going to be allowed to wait in my room the whole time, which was much better than sitting in a cold waiting room…My mother-in-law recognized one of my nurses right away as the sister of one of her co-workers.  May, the nurse, and Patsy talked while Jenny, the other nurse, asked me questions and entered all kinds of stuff into the computer.  When it was time to go to the OR, May was with me the whole time.  As I sat on the operating table, waiting for the anesthesiologist to give me the spinal block(whatever it’s called) May stood directly in front of me and reassured me that all was going to be okay and that I was doing very good.  I was  very shaky by this time, but May helped me to find some peace. 


I won’t go into detail about Cohen’s birth.  There’s no way to retell something as incredible as your child’s birth and make it sound just as amazing as it was as when you went through it.  A few things I will say, unrelated to Cohen…While Geron was at my side and the doctor was getting ready to sew me back up, I said to Geron “Tell doc he can take that tube!”  ( I only have one tube and ovary left after having Cora.)  A little later I said to Geron “Let’s not have any more.” 


I was very impressed with all the staff I encountered at Erlanger East.  My day and evening nurses were all wonderful.  I was concerned about being a ‘pesty’ patient…the kind nurses would go tell each other “the girl in 8828 is a pain in the you-know-where.  I hope I don’t have to take care of her again.”  If I was that kind of patient, they certainly didn’t let on, because all of them acted like they genuinely enjoyed caring for Cohen and me and liked cutting up with Geron as well.  Even Alicia, who was only my nurse that very first morning, came back to see me one night.  She brought Cohen to me from the nursery and stayed and visited for a while. 


Another person I especially appreciated at Erlanger was one of their lactation consultants, Debbie.  At Parkridge East, I didn’t feel comfortable with LC they had sent to help me.  She seemed very pushy and wanted me to do things her way.  I had difficulty with Cora nursing because due to the fact that I was in surgery for so long that the nurses in the nursery had to give her a bottle.  At Erlanger, Geron, Cohen and I were able to leave the OR together.  Cohen stayed with me from the time he was born until that evening when I put him in the nursery just to get a little bit of sleep.  In the recovery area, I was encouraged to feed Cohen and they sent an LC there to assist me as needed.  I don’t remember her name—just that she was a big fan of the football hold and that someone called her the “Boob nazi”.  The next day, Debbie came to my room to see how things were going.  I told her the football hold wasn’t working for me…I’m not a quarterback…and that I’d like to try something else.  She was very agreeable and said it was about what would work best for me AND the baby.  She was very helpful and I feel as though I have had much more success feeding Cohen than I did with Cora.  I know in part this is due to the fact that I was alert the whole time and on WAY less pain meds this time around, but also to a patient, understanding and encouraging LC named Debbie.


The big clincher for me came after I’d been home for two days.  The mail came and I had an envelope from Erlanger.  I assumed it was some kind of form letter that they sent to all their patients to say thank you for choosing our hospital, etc, etc, etc.  I opened it and it was a note card.   All my day nurses had written notes to me congratulating us on Cohen, wishing us the best, and telling me they enjoyed caring for me.  I’m sure they do that for all their patients, but the fact that it was personal meant the world to me.  I knew if Geron and  I did for some reason decide we’d have one more, I’d be going back to Erlanger East. 


May wrote a sweet note in the card and beside her name wrote “Isaiah 41:10”, a verse that has been special to me this summer as Preston, my father-in-law, had his heart attack and surgery.  It says:


                So do not fear, for I am with you;

                Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

                I will strengthen you and help you;

                I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


I am thankful for the people God used to show me that this verse is true.  Through May, Alicia, Janee, Debbie, Jenny, Dr.Kerley, not to mention my family and friends, God revealed to me that He was with me.  By the time my surgery was finished, I was not dismayed.  I knew God was strengthening me and with those nurses He was helping me. When I left the hospital and got a note at home, I was reminded that He would continue to uphold me with his righteous right hand and He has.


Blessings to you, my friends, at Erlanger East.  Thank you for your compassion.  May, thank you for your note.  You all are a fabulous team and I appreciate every one of you. 


ann said...

I'm so so so happy to read this. I want to cry. Not only that you had such a wonderful experience, but that God has been so faithful to your family through all you've been going through recently.

I miss my sippy!