Recognize this smiling face?

February 11th, 2014

It’s Brielle, one of the stars of our Mother Baby Center ad campaign, including our first birthday creative materials.

Brielle was born at Abbott Northwestern Hospital on July 31, 2012, and is now 19 months old. We caught up with Brielle’s parents to hear more about Brielle and how she’s grown.

All about Brielle:
Favorite food: Lentil curry
First word: Dada, (surprisingly, one of her other first words was “tickle”)
Most recent milestone: Eating well with a spoon
Favorite toy: Baby dolls, Legos, and Pete the Cat doll
What makes her laugh: Hide and seek and tickling
Most resembles: Mom
Other?: Loves being outside and playing in the snow!

A year of firsts

February 6th, 2014

Finn: first baby admitted to the Special Care Nursery

In year one, 718 babies born at The Mother Baby Center were admitted to the Special Care Nursery.

Seven weeks before their first baby was due, Alissa and Daniel Maloney began learning how unpredictable parenthood can be.

Finn Daniel Maloney was supposed to be born at a community hospital close to home. But when Alissa’s water broke prematurely, the community hospital was at full capacity. Instead, the couple was directed to The Mother Baby Center – a building that combines Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s maternal and fetal services with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s pediatric specialty care. It was Feb. 5, 2013, just one day after The Mother Baby Center had opened.

They arrived having had no tours or birth classes. They had not even had a baby shower yet. “It was chance that we ended up at The Mother Baby Center. But it all worked out for the best,” said Alissa. “I knew we were at the best place for a premature baby.”

Finn was born on Feb. 6 weighing 3 pounds, 8 ounces at birth. “We were able to hold him right away – but not for long. We had a few minutes to take pictures and then he went to the Special Care Nursery,” said Alissa.

Finn was the first baby admitted to the Special Care Nursery, an area dedicated to the care of babies born prematurely, in The Mother Baby Center. There, he was set up with monitors and a feeding tube, but he was able to breathe on his own. Alissa and Daniel joined him there a few hours later. Their private room made it a comfortable setting for everyone to get to know each other.

Finn went home about two weeks later weighing 4 pounds, 2 ounces. While healthy overall, he needed some ongoing support with feeding. Alissa and Finn returned weekly to meet with a lactation nurse. “That was incredibly helpful. I would recommend that to any new mom who is breastfeeding,” said Alissa.

A year later, Finn is a happy, curious baby. He loves being with the other kids at his day care, and he sensibly decided to sleep through the night about two weeks before Alissa returned to work.

“He’s still small for his age, but he’s healthy,” said Alissa. “We were lucky.”


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All about Finn
Favorite food: Green beans
First word: Da-da-da-da
Most recent milestone: Pulling himself up to stand
Favorite toy: Sophie the Giraffe
What makes him laugh: Count von Count from Sesame Street
Most resembles: Everyone says he looks like his uncle because he has the same strawberry blond hair.

See and learn more about The Mother Baby Center.

A year of firsts

February 5th, 2014

Anika: first baby admitted into the NICU

In year one, 490 babies born at The Mother Baby Center were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Every birth has some drama, but Anika Hubbard’s birth may have had more than most.

It started when prenatal tests revealed she had spina bifida, a condition characterized by incomplete development of the spinal cord. That made planning for her birth complicated, especially since her family lives in the middle of South Dakota. That’s a good eight-hour drive from The Mother Baby Center where doctors referred them for the high level of care that Anika and her mom, Kassandra, required.

Weeks before the birth, her parents, Kassandra and William, moved in with a cousin in Minnesota, and a Caesarian section was scheduled for Feb. 5, 2013 to ensure a safe delivery and follow-up care for Anika. All was well until Feb. 4, when Kassandra suddenly went into labor.

By the time the couple arrived at The Mother Baby Center, a building that combines Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s maternal and fetal services with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s pediatric specialty care, contractions were five minutes apart. Kassandra was rushed into an operating room and became the first mom to deliver by C-section at The Mother Baby Center, which had just opened that day, while Anika was the first baby admitted to the NICU from The Mother Baby Center.

Within a few hours, Kassandra was wheeled into the NICU to meet her daughter. “You want what every mom wants, so it was hard to see her with tubes and bandages everywhere. But we got to see her, touch her and hold her hand,” recalled Kassandra.

But Anika’s dramatic entry was still unfolding. Just eight hours after her birth, she had neurosurgery to protect exposed spinal cord tissue and minimize the risk of infection. Fortunately, Anika healed quickly from surgery and was soon eating, gaining weight and responding to her parents like any healthy newborn.

Anika needed a second surgery before she went home at the age of 3 weeks. There she continued to amaze her parents with her happy demeanor, good appetite and willingness to sleep through the night at just 6 weeks old.  Now, as Anika turns 1, her mom said she is continuing to make progress and grow every day. “She’s a strong little personality and very determined,” said Kassandra. “She’s making great strides, and I don’t think anything will hold her back.

“We know she’s doing so well today because of the great care she received at The Mother Baby Center and then Children’s. We’re grateful to all the staff who provided exceptional care to her, and me.”


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All about Anika

Favorite food: Strawberry yogurt
First word: Da-da-da-da (in different pitches and tones)
Most recent milestone: Army crawl
Favorite toy: Bunny rattle
What makes her laugh: The family dog
Most resembles: It changes month to month, but she has her dad’s eyes: beautiful blue eyes that stare into your soul

See and learn more about The Mother Baby Center.

 

A year of firsts

February 3rd, 2014

Gemma: first baby born at The Mother Baby Center

In year one, 5,153 babies were delivered at The Mother Baby Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael and Kristin Towle describe their fourth child, Gemma, as a real go-getter. And, one might add, she has perfect timing.

Although she was due on Jan. 31, 2013, she managed to keep her parents waiting just long enough to be the first baby born at The Mother Baby Center, a building that combines Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s maternal and fetal services with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s pediatric specialty care.

The Towles knew that The Mother Baby Center would open around the due date. “As we learned more about it, we were kind of hoping we’d end up there,” said Michael. Still, it seemed quite unlikely that their baby would be five days late.

As Jan. 31 came and went, they began to wonder. Finally, in the wee hours of Feb. 4, Kristin started having contractions. The couple was in touch with their midwife, Kathrine Simon, CNM, and at about 9:15 a.m. they decided it was time to go to the hospital. The Mother Baby Center had officially opened its doors at 7 a.m.

“Everyone was so excited when we got there,” said Kristin. The couple had made arrangements with their midwife to have a water birth, so after labor progressed, they were brought to the water birth room. “It was a beautiful, calming room,” recalled Kristin. “And Kathrine, the nurses and the entire team did a phenomenal job of preparing us.”

Michael noted that his wife had always had positive birth experiences, but during the water birth, she seemed particularly serene and confident. Weighing in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces, Gemma was born at 11:18 that morning.

Before long, Gemma, Kristin and Michael were back in their own room, soon to be joined by Gemma’s brothers, James and Michael Jr., and her sister, Sabina. “The whole experience was positive for us,” said Kristin. They appreciated that their choice of using a midwife was supported and affirmed by The Mother Baby Center, and that their desire to keep things simple and natural was respected.

As Gemma’s first birthday approached, the Towles were preparing themselves and their household for life with an active toddler. “Even when she was still in my tummy, we would always marvel at how active she was,” said Kristin. “She started to crawl at an early age, is very verbal and has a lot of energy. Of course, she’s trying to keep up with her brothers and sister.”

“It’s been a joyful and eventful year for our family – we’re grateful for all that was done at The Mother Baby Center to make Gemma’s birth such a memorable experience.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All about Gemma
Favorite food: Anything with mango in it
First word: Ma-ma
Most recent milestone: Standing up on her own
Favorite toy: An empty box, especially if she can crawl into it
What makes her laugh: Papa goofing around with her siblings: Michael, James or Sabina
Most resembles: She bears an uncanny resemblance to her Grandma Peggy

See and learn more about The Mother Baby Center.

National Midwifery Week: A Q-&-A with Nicole Rovang

October 11th, 2013

It’s National Midwifery Week. To highlight the work of a midwife, we talked with our moms who recently gave birth. Here, they share their experience in their own words.

Nicole Rovang, a 29-year-old mom, gave birth to Camden almost two years ago and worked with Kathrine Simon and Jessie Kunz of North Metro Midwives.

You gave birth almost two years ago and worked with a midwife. Was it your first time working with one?  This was my first time working with a midwife.  Before I became pregnant, I knew that I wanted a natural birth, with little intervention, and someone to stand by me through my labor.  I wanted the freedom to move around and let my body do what it was made to do.  I found North Metro Midwives online and instantly fell in love with the practice.  When I became pregnant, North Metro Midwives was my first call.  I was excited to work with a group of midwives who are so passionate about midwifery.  I felt confident in my choice, and most importantly, I felt supported in my decision and birth plan.

How did you settle on a midwife? During the pregnancy working with the group of midwives was similar in style to a small OB practice.  I rotated through the three providers, so that I knew each person who had a chance of being with me on my son’s birthday.  My questions were always answered and further testing was explained thoroughly with all risks and benefits explained to my understanding.  The office staff knew us by name and took an active role in my life.

During the pregnancy, what was it like working with a midwife? The birth of my son was amazing.  He was a trick and a treat, arriving a little over four weeks early on Halloween morning.  Jessie took charge in the delivery room and provided my with the tools and support I needed to feel confident in my decision to birth with as little intervention as possible.  She coached me through the contractions and coached my husband to sit down when he wasn’t feeling well.  She constantly assured me that I could do this and that I was having a baby.  Just less than five hours total at the hospital, my son Camden arrived with no complication other than being a late-term preemie.

Is there anything else you want to share about your experience? My experience with the midwives extends beyond my prenatal care and the birth of my son.  I decided to stick with the practice as my primary care for women’s health.  When I found a lump in breast nine months ago, it was Jessie who felt the lump and ordered the appropriate testing.  She could have easily told me it was normal tissue for just ceasing breast feeding, but her choice for further testing may have saved my life.  It was Kathrine who held my hand and cried with me as she gave me the results of the biopsy, and told me I had cancer.  She assured me that my dream to give birth to another child was not gone and my dream to become a nurse was not over.  Both Jessie and Kathrine called me often throughout my surgery and treatment for breast cancer just to see how things were going and how I was doing not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually.  They both took an active role in my family and our lives have forever been changed by these women who are so passionate about women’s health.

 

National Midwifery Week: A Q-&-A with Emily Zimmer

October 11th, 2013

It’s National Midwifery Week. To highlight the work of a midwife, we talked with our moms who recently gave birth. Here, they share their experience in their own words.

Emily Zimmer, a 31-year-old mom of three, worked with Kathrine Simon, CNM, of North Metro Midwives for the first time with the birth of her youngest child, 4-month-old Fritz.

Fritz

You recently gave birth and worked with a midwife. Was it your first time working with one? It was our first time working with a midwife. While we had good care with our first two children, if I had known the difference, I would have worked with a midwife sooner.

How did you settle on a midwife? Our first child was breech and was born via c-section. Despite going into labor naturally, our second child was born via c-section because of hospital policy in our town. While happy to have a healthy little boy, I felt disappointed that I hadn’t had the opportunity to have a natural birth.

When I found out I was pregnant for the third time, I was determined to take control and try for a vaginal birth. I searched the Twin Cities for a provider who would work with me, and North Metro Midwives seemed the best fit.

During the pregnancy, what was it like working with a midwife? Working with a midwife was a lovely experience. Kathrine and company took time each appointment to answer our questions. We never felt rushed like we have experienced other places. Throughout the pregnancy, the midwives provided sage advice regarding diet, exercise and overall well-being. The midwives provided a holistic experience that really left our family feeling well cared for.

How’d the delivery go? Our little guy was in no hurry to come out. He was six days past due when I went into labor. And of course, the process started in the middle of the night. We got to The Mother Baby Center at 4 a.m. on June 11.

Kathrine checked to see how far I was dilated and couldn’t find the opening to my cervix. I was mostly effaced but after three additional cervical checks, staff couldn’t determine dilation.

Stumped, Katherine asked one of the perinatal doctors to check and she located the opening over to the side and was able to sweep it over.

Four centimeters dilated, we were rocking and rolling. It took another 18 hours of labor to meet our baby. Our midwife was our rock throughout the experience. There was never any question that we were going to have a successful vaginal birth. She coached us through it with the right amount of kindness and determination.

My husband and I were both grateful for her knowledge and support through the whole experience. At 4:19 a.m. the next day, our 9-pound, 4-ounce boy was born.

Is there anything else you want to share about your experience? After the birth of my first two children, I felt a certain sense of loss. While my priority was their health, going through c-sections was an unfulfilling way to bring them into the world. While with my first it could not be helped, poor hospital policy determined the birth of our second child.

National Midwifery Week: A Q-&-A with Laurie Mueller

October 11th, 2013

It’s National Midwifery Week. To highlight the work of a midwife, we talked with our moms who recently gave birth. Here, they share their experience in their own words.

Laurie Mueller, a 32-year-old mom of two, gave birth to Vivienn in September and worked with Kathrine Simon of North Metro Midwives.

You recently gave birth and worked with a midwife. Was it your first time working with one? Yes, when I had my first daughter, Mackenzie, I delivered with an OB in Denver.

How did you settle on a midwife? I was induced with my first daughter because I was six days overdue. With my second pregnancy, I wanted to try to avoid as many medical interventions and try to have as natural of a birth as possible.  I was about halfway through my second pregnancy when I started to wonder if a midwife would be a better fit for what I wanted. However, I was a little apprehensive about switching to a midwife because there’s a strong message that if you’re pregnant you need to see a doctor and that’s the only safe way to deliver a baby. I began to look for different midwives in my area, and I came across North Metro Midwives in Plymouth. I emailed Kathrine Simon with some basic questions which she answered and she encouraged me to come and meet with the midwives. After emailing back and forth with Kathrine and meeting with Kristin a few days later, I knew that I wanted to work with a midwife.

During the pregnancy, what was it like working with a midwife? It was wonderful! It never felt as though I was going to a medical appointment, and I think it’s because my midwives had such a holistic approach. Obviously they did an outstanding job of addressing the physical needs of me and my baby, but they also took care of my emotional and social needs as well. The first appointment I had with Kathrine she asked me to tell her about the birth of my first daughter, Mackenzie. I gave her the details about how I was induced because I was six days overdue and how the labor was very long and hard, which led to several other interventions and problems; I also told her how I had a very serious post-partum hemorrhage right after delivery and as a result of that I remember very little about the first day of Mackenzie’s life. After hearing how I was only able to hold my daughter for about 30 seconds before she was taken out of the room so the medical team could work on me, Kathrine asked me how I felt about the experience. To be honest, I was taken aback by the question because no medical professional had ever taken the time to ask me how I felt about the experience.  Kathrine listened as I told her I felt very sad when I think about how the first few hours of my daughter’s life I was separated from her and that I never had the chance to just hold her and enjoy her right after she was born. Kathrine said that I was going to have a “healing birth,” which was exactly what I needed, I just didn’t know it at the time.

How’d the delivery go? It was hard work, but also so empowering! My labor started around 9 p.m. and at 11:30 p.m., I called Kathrine to let her know I was in labor. She gave some suggestions to help ease any discomforts I was having, and she would periodically call me at home to assess how I was doing. It helped to be at home in the early stages of labor because it helped me relax and it just felt more normal. When we arrived at the hospital around 4 a.m., the first thing I said to the nurse who was assessing me was, “Is Kathrine here?” Over the last few months Kathrine had become such a comforting and safe person to me that I just wanted her there in that moment. Ten minutes later she arrived and as soon as she came into the room, I remember I felt much more relaxed and the contractions seemed much more manageable just by her presence.

I labored for about another nine hours, and I don’t recall Kathrine ever leaving us, which was the exact opposite from my first delivery. She walked the hallways with us, she made me food, and she distracted me with funny stories in between contractions which helped the whole process feel normal. When we realized that the baby was posterior and not completely lined up, she gave several suggestions to help ease the back labor and to help turn the baby into a more favorable position. Kathrine seemed to know what I needed before I ever had to ask whether it was distraction or encouragement when I was doubting myself.

Kathrine did such an amazing job of normalizing the whole labor process, which helped me feel calmer. Despite it being a 16-hour labor, I never was worried that she would say that my labor wasn’t going fast enough or that we needed to speed things up with Pitocin.

Finally, a little bit before 1pm our daughter, Vivienn, was born. She weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces. Best of all, Vivienn and I were both healthy. My husband and I spent the rest of the day holding her. Thanks to Kathrine, I can say that this was a very healing birth for me—any lingering sadness or fears from my first delivery have gone away.

Is there anything else you want to share about your experience? I cannot say enough wonderful things about the midwives at North Metro Midwives, especially Kathrine! There is no one else I would have wanted to attend the birth of our second daughter. I’ve never felt so cared about as a person, not just a patient, as I did with Kathrine. When Kathrine is with you, there is nothing else going on in her world except you! You can tell she loves what she does and truly cares about her patients—she’s amazing! I highly recommend them to anyone and if we have a third child, I will definitely be using them again!

 

National Midwifery Week: A Q-&-A with Jennifer Revermann

October 10th, 2013

It’s National Midwifery Week. To highlight the work of a midwife, we talked with our moms who recently gave birth. Here, they share their experience in their own words.

Jennifer Revermann, a 29-year-old mom of five, worked with a midwife for each child’s birth. Kathrine Simon, CNM, of North Metro Midwives delivered her first four children.

You recently gave birth and worked with a midwife. Was it your first time working with one? This was not our first time using a midwife.  Kathrine delivered my first four children and was actually not present at Quinton’s birth but her colleague Jessie was able to be there.

How did you settle on a midwife? With our first pregnancy, we were working with an OB and were not completely satisfied with the care I was receiving.  I was talking with a friend, and she recommended looking into a midwife since she had great experiences.  We decided to look online for the closest midwife figuring we had nothing to lose.  We scheduled our 20 week appointment with Kathrine and upon leaving my husband and I knew that this was the right option for us.  Kathrine was kind, personable and took time to answer our questions.  I felt like I was sitting and talking to a close friend, and we now consider her a part of our family!

During the pregnancy, what was it like working with a midwife? I loved working with a midwife during my pregnancies.  I never felt rushed in an appointment, and she was always willing to answer questions and put my mind at ease when I was concerned about something.  When our other children were at the appointments with us, Kathrine always tried to get them involved which I loved!  Kathrine was very supportive of the fact that I wanted my pregnancy, labor and delivery to be as “hands off” as possible and wanted this to be a very natural experience.

How’d the delivery go? My delivery went great!  With my last baby, we had a water birth which was an amazing experience.  For all of my births, I felt like I had the support that I needed and someone who understood my wants and needs during and after labor and delivery.   I loved that my midwife was there with me from the time I arrived at the hospital to the time baby was born.  I am amazed at Kathrine’s ability to know where you are at in labor just by observing.  Kathrine’s support allowed me to have the natural, unmedicated births I desired.  I feel so blessed to have such wonderful memories from my births.

Is there anything else you want to share about your experience? I will forever be grateful that we made the decision to switch to a midwife during my first pregnancy.  Over the course of my five pregnancies, I have driven up to three hours to see Kathrine to get the care I desired.  Kathrine has seen us through a preemie birth, also, and I could not have asked for a better support during and after Bradley’s birth.  There is not a doubt in my mind that a midwife was the best option for our family.

 

National Midwifery Week: A Q-&-A with Jaime Pellegrene

October 10th, 2013

It’s National Midwifery Week. To highlight the work of a midwife, we talked with our moms who recently gave birth. Here, they share their experience in their own words. 

Jaime Pellegrene, 37, recently gave birth to her third child, Isabelle, who is 6 weeks old. She worked with Debra Stealey, CNM.

Was this your first time working with a midwife? I had met with Deb several times throughout all of my pregnancies but delivered with my primary doctor for my first two births. Deb was very involved in the birth of our daughter in August, and she and my doctor delivered her.

How did you settle on a midwife? Although my husband and I decided to keep our doctor as our primary care provider, I liked the idea of having a midwife involved on a personal level.  Deb said that she tried to deliver all of her patient’s babies, unlike the doctors in the practice that delivered under an on-call schedule.  Building a trusting relationship with the person who you see for prenatal care, and that will also be there for the birth of the baby was important to me.

I was hoping for a water birth this time, and I felt confident in Deb’s skills and experience.  My doctor had never done a water birth, so Deb had agreed to come to our birth and be there to help us all.

How’d the delivery go? The delivery went very well.  Both my doctor and Deb were there to support me with guiding patience.  Deb was confident in her own skills, took charge, and allowed my baby and me to work together to bring her into the world, without intervention.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience? I made a vision board a few months ago that I looked at on a daily basis to help prepare me mentally for the birth and also use as a focal point during the birth.  I think it really helped!

National Midwifery Week: A Q-&-A with Jamie Schumacher

October 9th, 2013

It’s National Midwifery Week. To highlight the work of a midwife, we talked with our moms who recently gave birth. Here, they share their experience in their own words. 

Jamie Schumacher, 34, gave birth to Madeline Anne in July and worked with Debra Stealey, CNM.

Was it your first time working with a midwife? Yes

How did you settle on a midwife? Being able to breastfeed was a big priority for us, and many of the choices we made were in an effort to set us up for success with that. We wanted a birth with as little medical intervention as possible, but with the support of a qualified professional. We also wanted a strong advocate and somebody who would intervene with a surgical Caesarian section only if medically necessary.

Debra Stealey was recommended to us by a nurse at The Mother Baby Center. Deb is a certified lactation consultant, registered nurse and certified nurse midwife.  After researching both Debra and Diamond Women’s Center, we made the decision to transfer and fortunately, she was available!

During the pregnancy, what was it like working with a midwife? Working with a midwife was fantastic. We joked that we felt we got more information out of our very first appointment with her than we had at all of our appointments prior!

We also appreciated that she approached the pregnancy and our care as a team effort. My husband was involved and very welcomed into decision-making and the labor and delivery planning and process.

Howd the delivery go? Long and laborious! :) But especially after labor and delivery, we couldn’t be more pleased with the care we received. Deb helped guide us through a very difficult labor. Thanks to her coaching and care she helped us avoid a c-section and other complications and interventions that could have easily taken place due to the size of our child and the length of labor, among other factors.

Throughout the process both my well-being and the health of our daughter were prioritized as we worked through our birth plan and delivery. Deb provided us professional guidance through the difficult decisions – she honored the choices we outlined in birth plan and helped guide us in our decision-making when things didn’t go exactly the way we imagined. Our daughter Madeline was born naturally on July 6, 2013, healthy and happy.

Is there anything else you want to share about your experience? In follow-up to one of our original goals: though we had a few hiccups getting started, breastfeeding is going well! We’re proud to have made it this far already – Madeline is going to be 3 months in a few days, exclusively breast milk-fed. I know the support we received from everybody along the way played a big factor in our success.

I have to say that I’m also extraordinarily grateful for the amazing care and support we received at The Mother Baby Center. All of the nurses who cared for us throughout the labor and afterwards were exceptional–helping us with everything from labor coaching, to nursing to postpartum self-care.

Even though it wasn’t exactly the way we pictured (is it ever?) I’m very proud of our story, and so happy with our choice to work with a midwife. I think the relationship we’ve established with Deb Stealey is the kind of relationship every woman should be able to establish with her physician – one of care, trust and mutual respect. I hope that more women can have a positive and empowering birth experience like mine, and hope that the practice of midwifery grows.