Giving Birth as She Envisioned
When Allie Kibler and her husband Lee discovered she was pregnant with their first child, she initially considered a home birth. But on the advice of her sister-in-law, a labor and delivery nurse at Genesis Medical Center – East in Davenport, she ultimately chose the next-closest experience: delivery at the Davenport BirthCenter.
Kibler said the hospital supported not only her desire for “natural labor,” but also the rest of her birth wishes. Those included her preferences about birthing positions and freedom of movement, pain-relief options, room lighting, music, and medicine and vaccinations given to newborns.
Kibler, a Camanche resident, told the Genesis birth team the plans could change if she or her unborn daughter were at risk. But in the end, she said, “I got everything I wanted. It could not have gone better.”
Kibler made her birth wishes during a Genesis class she took to prepare for the arrival of her daughter, Piper. “I have a tailbone injury, so I didn’t want to lay on my back during labor. I wanted to be able to walk around and try different positions.”
She hoped to relieve pain, in part, by using the shower or a jet-powered tub that’s located in the main area of one labor and delivery room. She requested the room after taking a tour of the Davenport BirthCenter, and it turned out to be available when she arrived to give birth at 4 a.m. on a June day.
Guidance & Support
Her sister-in-law Heather, then in training as a labor and delivery nurse, and Heather’s preceptor Julie served as her nurses. They and her midwife “were the most incredible labor team there could possibly be,” Kibler said.
The nurses recommended several ways to make her more comfortable—including reverse toilet sitting, which she found especially helpful during back labor. She spent about two hours in the tub and sat for a bit in the warm water of the shower as well. The nurses “help people give birth every day, but this was my first time, so the fact that they offered all these suggestions was awesome,” she said. They listened well, too.
Her best friend played relaxing music, and the room lights were turned down, as requested. There was plenty of space for all her support people, including Lee and her mom. “I was in a hospital, but it didn’t necessarily feel like that,” Kibler said.
Bonding Time for the New Family
At 2:06 p.m., Piper arrived. Everyone except the new parents left the room so Kibler, Lee and Piper could celebrate the “golden hour”—special quiet time for bonding with a newborn. “I loved that,” Kibler said. “When you have a new baby, everyone wants to hold her,” but that time period let her save those first moments for just herself, her husband and her child.
Piper spent the golden hour nursing and cuddling with her parents. Genesis promotes early skin-to-skin contact to help stimulate newborns’ natural urge to breastfeed, as well as warm them, stabilize their breathing and steady their heartbeat. A lactation consultant helped the infant latch on and showed Kibler different feeding positions.
“Piper didn’t leave our side the whole time I was at the hospital,” Kibler said. Genesis encourages rooming in, meaning a baby stays in the mother’s room throughout her recovery instead of going to a nursery. This practice is designed to help a new mom learn and more quickly respond to her baby’s cues. Rooming in also can calm a newborn and promote better sleep.
A week after Kibler left the hospital, a Genesis nurse visited her at home to take Piper’s measurements, answer the new mom’s questions, and share educational materials about infant development.
“All the nurses I worked with, whether they were labor and delivery or postpartum nurses, were phenomenal,” Kibler said. “They were super helpful, and they’re always willing to work with you on your birth wishes. Genesis for sure was amazing.”