By David Heitz
When Rebecca and Brad Eubank had their baby at Merit Health Wesley, they came home with more than just one new family member. That’s because the people working at the Birth Center, from their doctor to the housekeeping staff, all provided the couple with the sort of
From the moment Rebecca learned she was pregnant — a total surprise — Dr. Pace made sure he was available for Rebecca whenever she needed him, including when her baby, Emma, decided to come into the world on his day off. That ethic carried over to all of the employees at Merit Health Wesley, where moms give birth in suites so spacious and inclusive they never have to leave the room.
“The nurse stayed on after she was finished with her shift the day Emma came,” Rebecca recalls. “Emma was born at 8:14 on Sunday morning, and she stayed with Brad in the hall until it was time to come in, and she was able to be right there beside us during delivery. She became a member of our family.”
For Rebecca, the joy of having a baby also came with some concerns. Her pregnancy had complications. Having her daughter at Merit Health Wesley provided the comforts of home with all the safety of a hospital, and then some. “They treated Emma with extreme care and love in the NICU,” Rebecca said. “I was not treated like a burden, but a mom. Every nurse that came in my room was kind and caring. Even the ladies who cleaned the room were kind to us — asking about Emma and how she was doing.”
Preeclampsia Diagnosis Not a Cause for Alarm
Rebecca was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia, after landing in the hospital with prolonged high blood pressure that did not respond to medication. Preeclampsia can be fatal to mom and baby if left untreated, and in Rebecca’s case, an emergency C-section was deemed necessary.
Two days later, Rebecca safely delivered her healthy baby. Merit Health Wesley is especially equipped to handle complicated pregnancies. The neonatologists treat babies in a special newborn intensive care unit at Merit Health Wesley. The doctors have additional training that makes them specialists in the care of newborns and are board-certified neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners.
Emma was delivered 11 weeks early, two days after Rebecca received the preeclampsia diagnosis. “My doctor was the peace that I needed through the entire pregnancy,” Rebecca said. “Once we realized Emma would make her appearance early, he again became my calm. He reassured us that the staff was prepared for a baby coming this early. He explained what would probably happen once she got here so we could feel more comfortable with the situation.”
While parents with healthy babies often opt to “room in” with their child, meaning the child stays with the parents (there is even room in each suite for dad), the newborn nursery also is available for babies who need special care. While the “room in” option helps give parents the confidence they need to care for their baby before bringing her home, the nursery is there for when patients wish to temporarily turn over care of the baby to the trained staff of Merit Health Wesley.
Although the birthing suites are equipped with all the modern tools needed to guarantee a safe birthing experience, the décor casts a shadow on the stereotype of an “institutional” hospital feel. The rooms feature warm flooring, tasteful appointments, and even a whirlpool tub where mom can relax.
Taking Care of Mom and Baby Even Before Conception
For the Eubanks, Emma was a “surprise” pregnancy. Rebecca and Brad already had two sons, William and Matthew. When Rebecca got the news she was expecting, she said she was caught off guard. “Dr. Pace was an answer to prayers during my pregnancy,” she said. “Emma was not in our plans, so when I found out I was pregnant, it was a complete shock. Dr. Pace sat in the room with me until my husband could get there.”
For parents expecting their first child, feelings of joy may be more predominant than those of shock. There usually is a little anxiety too. At Merit Health Wesley, the birthing specialists start getting the family ready before the baby even enters the world. In fact, many parents begin to prepare for having a baby before they get pregnant, to eliminate fear of the unknown. Merit Health Wesley offers classes on how to avoid or minimize complications during pregnancy, give birth to a healthier baby, recover more quickly after childbirth, and minimize the risk of the baby having problems in adulthood.
For mothers who learn they will or may need a C-section, like Rebecca, Merit Health Wesley will make sure they know what to expect so that the procedure feels as natural as possible. Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed, and those who choose to do so will enjoy the services of a certified lactation consultant and also will get one-on-one breastfeeding support while in the hospital.
Emma’s First Birthday and Cake for the Whole ‘Family’
How did Rebecca come to choose Merit Health Wesley? When the family moved here due to a job transfer for Brad, they asked fellow church members for recommendations. The response was overwhelming, and obviously fate. “Not long after that, I became pregnant,” Rebecca said.
Merit Health Wesley helps prepare expecting moms every step of the way, from how to exercise safely during pregnancy to how to safely put baby down for sleeping once she arrives. They even send each baby home with a HALO Sleep Sack, which features fabric flaps that swaddle the baby’s arms to the body but allow leg movement and remove the danger of loose blankets.
Recently, the Eubanks celebrated Emma’s first birthday. And of course that meant cake for their family at Merit Health Wesley, too. “We bring Emma up to the NICU for the ladies to see her as she grows,” Rebecca said. “We brought them some cake on her birthday to celebrate with the ones who were there. I can never repay them for the care they gave Emma when I couldn’t be there. I will be forever grateful.”
Instead of a complicated birth causing Rebecca and her family to have a traumatic experience, it brought them the blessing of wonderful new people in their lives. “I loved my experience at Merit Health Wesley. Not only did we receive the precious gift of Emma while we were there, but we also received lifelong friendships.”
Interested in having a baby at Merit Health Wesley? Sign up for “Tiny Toes, a Tip-Top OB Club.” Members receive a tour of the OB unit before delivery, the well-known book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” birthing classes, a nine-month membership to the Merit Health Wesley Wellness Center, and a special collection of keepsakes to celebrate the birth of your child. To learn more, call Merit Health Wesley at 601-268-5142.
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