Delivering Care Focused on the Entire Family
About to be second-time parents, Heather and Alan Hartley returned in July to the Genesis BirthCenter to deliver their son, Alex, knowing they would receive care focused on the entire family in a safe, comfortable environment.
“They put family first the entire time,” Alan said. “And that really means a lot to us.”
A More Personal Experience
The desire for a more personal, family-centered style of care influenced their choice of OB provider, too. When the couple had their daughter two years ago, they were impressed with the nurse-midwives at The Group.
“We were drawn to a midwife during my first pregnancy with our daughter, Emma,” Heather said. “I was pretty anxious the first time around and wanted someone who could take more time to answer our questions.”
Six certified nurse-midwives practice at The Group, each one focused on enhancing the process of pregnancy and birth through education and supportive intervention during labor.
For Alan, seeing a midwife allowed him to be a bigger part of the conversation. “I felt like it mattered that I was at the appointments,” he said. “It wasn’t like I was just a fly on the wall.”
Better Safe than Sorry
Safety was also a factor in choosing where to deliver. While both Alan and Heather had every reason to believe their son’s arrival would run smoothly, they planned for the unexpected.
“Another reason we picked Genesis was because of the NICU,” Heather said. “I knew that should there be any problems, the NICU was right there. I couldn’t think of a worse situation than having a baby that would be transferred to a different location. We wanted to ensure we could stay in the Quad Cities where our family is.”
The Genesis NICU is the regional leader for the care of critically ill newborns starting at just 29 weeks gestation, and is the only NICU in the Quad Cities staffed full-time by neonatologists from the nationally recognized University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital.
The Importance of Dad
While Mom certainly takes a lot of attention, the BirthCenter team realizes that it can be a nerve-wrecking experience for Dad, too.
“There were times when I felt like I was on the sidelines,” Alan said. “But the nursing staff did a really good job of talking to me. They were all very aware of where I was at and how I was doing. They kept asking me if I was hungry or needed anything. They wanted to make sure I got what I needed.”
Alan did his best to be as involved as possible with his son’s delivery. When it came to creating a comfortable, familiar environment, he was in charge.
“I wanted to create an environment that was as comfortable for Heather as possible,” Alan said. “Whether it was using a Scentsy or playing music that she likes, just something to make it all feel normal,” Alan said.
Alan understood that their son’s delivery would be one of the most monumental moments of their lives. But he believed every moment leading up to that was special, too.
“You just have to be there,” he said. “And that can be hard. I struggled from time to time, when I wanted to look at my phone or the TV was on. But as much as you can, be present. Find some way to be in that moment and to create special moments.”
Bonding as a Family
With the help of Certified Nurse-Midwife Melissa Daniels, Alex Hartley arrived on July 3, 2017 weighing 7 lbs and measuring 20 inches long. Immediately after delivery came the Golden Hour, a time for both parents to bond with their new baby through skin-to-skin contact.
“We did the golden hour with both children,” Heather said. “Knowing that the nurses really encouraged both me and Alan to participate in that skin-to-skin contact was wonderful. I feel like it was a great opportunity for us to bond as a family.”
Alan agreed. “I enjoyed being able to hold him for the first time. But more than anything, I loved watching my wife with both kids. Just seeing her become a mother again was so amazing.”