From Birth to Breastfeeding, the Best Possible Experience
Christina and Seth Hill worked for four years to conceive their first child through in vitro fertilization.
So little Luca’s birth on Mother’s Day was a huge landmark for the couple and their families. The big day became even more special because of the standout experience Hill had with the facilities and staff at Genesis Davenport BirthCenter.
“We wanted the best for ourselves and our child, and we got it,” said Hill, of Muscatine.
Attentive Staff for an Unusual Situation
Hill’s water broke at about 4:30 a.m. on Mother’s Day, May 14. She was surprised because her due date wasn’t until May 26. In fact at first, she thought her baby was kicking her bladder.
But after an early-morning call to her midwife at The Group, Hill realized it was time to head to the hospital. Her contractions sped up so quickly while she was waiting to connect with a birthing nurse, she had to go to the emergency department and into triage.
By 7 a.m., Hill was out of triage and in a private room, and her cervix had dilated to four centimeters. She appreciated how the hospital staff waited until she was in a private room to handle the details of admission.
Hill was also among the estimated 25 percent of healthy pregnant women diagnosed with B-strep, so she needed an antibiotic prior to receiving her epidural that morning. A warm shower with a nurse by her side helped move along her labor.
“It was really nice to sit down in the shower with the nurse helping,” Hill said. “And my husband was sleeping in the reclining chair, so he loved that!”
Hill then received her epidural and began to feel light-headed and faint, with her blood pressure dropping. She received additional oxygen for the rest of the day and appreciated how her nurse kept her calm and comfortable.
“My nurse stayed in the room with me for the first hour after the epidural to make sure everything was OK,” she said. “She reminded me to keep taking deep breaths. She waited for me to feel better before she moved out of the room.”
By 1:30 p.m., Hill was “pushing” – and by 5 p.m., Luca was born, weighing seven pounds and one ounce and bearing a bountiful head of brown hair.
The “Golden Hour:” Bonding with the Baby
Moments after Luca was born, Hill began holding him close to her chest and kept him there for at least an hour. She remembers feeling amazed that her son “was finally there in my arms after we had hoped and prayed for him for four years.”
Husband Seth also enjoyed the private time with their new son and seemed equally overwhelmed, Hill said.
“He was shedding happy tears,” she said. “I was kind of surprised. I’ve never really seen him cry before. But he was teary-eyed and actually took the initiative to hold Luca – which was great, because he was scared to at first. He didn’t want to ‘break’ him.”
Luca stayed in the room with his parents while the nurses took his measurements. Hill recalls the joy of watching her husband adore his new son. “Seth was looking at him in awe,” she remembers. “They were both constantly in my line of sight.”
Hill also remembers how the nursing staff worked to keep that first hour – the “golden hour” – a special experience that involved only Hill, her husband, and their new son. At least seven family members and friends had gathered in the waiting room by this time, but the staff kept the well-wishers at bay while the Hills enjoyed their private time as a new family.
“I definitely wanted a private experience. I didn’t want a lot of different people in and out of the room,” she said. “The staff stuck to my birth plan really well. I didn’t feel bombarded by the presence of a lot of people.”
Taking on the Breastfeeding Challenge as a Team
Hill moved to a postpartum room later that Sunday. For the next two days, a nurse and two lactation consultants worked with Hill on getting Luca to connect for breastfeeding.
The process was more of a challenge than Hill had anticipated. “I thought it was going to be something so natural, something that just happens,” she remembers. “But it’s some of the hardest work you have to do as a mother in the beginning. It’s so exhausting because he eats so frequently.”
Hill learned from the consultants different ways to hold her son, and how each of those positions affected Luca’s ability to suckle. He immediately showed a strong preference for her left breast. Hill learned how to encourage him to connect equally to her right breast, so that all of her milk ducts could be equally expressed.
A few months after her son’s birth, Hill was still applying much of what she learned about breastfeeding while at Davenport BirthCenter. The advice she received helped her continue with breastfeeding even when it seemed unusually difficult. “I contemplated stopping, but the bonding experience makes it all worthwhile.”
Overall, Hill said, she was satisfied with every step of her birthing experience and would recommend Genesis BirthCenter to any expecting mother.
“We had such a great experience – from the midwives, to the nurses working that day, to the janitorial staff, to the cafeteria people, to the security workers,” she said. “We were overall really pleased with deciding to go with Genesis!”