Thankful For Our Experience at The Birthplace at Conway Medical Center

Giving birth is scary enough. Having to stay in the hospital for five whole days during this anxiety-ridden time adds a completely different level of stress and discomfort. However, if you have to go through it, all you can do is cross your fingers and hope that the people who are caring for you will make the experience as pleasant and as successful as it can possibly be.

In yesterday’s blog post, I wrote about how Sidney, Sloan, and I could not wait until the discharge papers were signed and we could leave Conway Medical Center and head off to the comfort of our own home. It is true. Cabin fever had started to set in and we desperately wanted to get our daughter out of the hospital. But even through our angst, there was never one time where we (and by “we” I mean the three of us) weren’t treated with the utmost top quality care and genuine human compassion.

If you don’t live in the Grand Strand area, you may want to consider moving to our beautiful area of the country for the sole purpose of having your baby delivered. Seriously. The Birthplace at Conway Medical Center blew us away throughout the entirety of our extended stay.

We are very thankful to The Birthplace at Conway Medical Center for making our stay the best it could be (given the circumstances) and for delivering us this beautiful girl!

Although last Friday’s birth of our daughter was my first ever hospital delivery experience, from what others have told me, we had it very good. We were in an oversized room with a television, furniture, shower, speedy wifi, and an endless supply of items such as tissues and towels. The food service was consistent, speedy, and tasty. The doctors, whether it was Sidney’s OBGYN or the pediatrician, came by early in the mornings. I was able to stay each night and had the option of sleeping in a rollout bed or a comfortable recliner.

The Birthplace itself is equipped with the latest technology. The place is totally secure. Patients and babies are kept completely protected. The nurse/doctor main station is centrally located so no matter where your room is, help is available the moment you step outside your door (although you could buzz for help at any time). The nursery is a godsend. Not only is it easily accessible and offers a great view for all visitors to see the babies, parents are able to send their newborn to it whenever they please. After we had Sloan, we sent her to the nursery overnight so we could get some rest after the energy draining experience we shared leading up to her birth.

But the part that will forever stick out to me the most about our time at The Birthplace at Conway Medical Center, besides meeting our beautiful daughter for the first time, are the nurses we met over the six days and five nights we stayed there. The women who took care of us were truly remarkable. They took the concept of “care” to the absolute next level and watched over us in a way that far exceeded any expectations I had going in.

We spent more time than we wanted to in the hospital. Luckily we were in good hands.

From the time we checked in on Wednesday morning to when we were discharged on Monday around noon, the nurses took care of us. Working 12 hour shifts, we would have a nurse from 7 a.m to 7 p.m. during the day and then from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. at night. Over the course of the shifts, these nurses provided us excellent medical attention while also relating to us as people. Sidney wasn’t just a patient, I wasn’t just the annoying husband. Rather, it seemed as if we were a high priority to them, not just another number or inconvenience.

Let me tell you, if you deliver at Conway Medical Center they will wait on you hand and foot. Whatever you want to drink or whatever you want to eat, they will get it for you. If you have a question, they will answer it (or find the answer for you). If you have a special need, they will accommodate you. Best of all, the excellent service extends right to the husband. At times I felt bad asking them for something because I knew they were there to serve Sidney but they were always happy to oblige. They constantly brought me cups of ice, additional blankets, clean linens, and all the assurance in the world. After we had Sloan, the head nurse in the nursery met with me and calmed any fears that I had and explained to me that my daughter was a perfectly healthy little girl. She then proceeded to grab my phone and take photos with it of my first moments with Sloan.

This is Becky, the nurse who worked in the nursery who offered both Sidney and I great support and who took some great photos in the first minutes I had with Sloan. In this photo she is giving Sloan her first bath.

But it was the care they gave Sidney that will forever make me feel indebted to them. By no means did Sid have an easy go at it. Despite some of the difficulties she faced, the nursing staff was always in her corner. They supported her, sympathized with her, and even tried to be her nurse the next day if possible. Actual relationships developed to the point where the nurses who were no longer assigned to her would make the effort to come back to Sid’s room and check in on her. It became personal to them and we were so grateful for their kindness and authenticity. How good was this group of nurses? So good that my mother-in-law, a registered nurse herself and someone who tells it straight, raved about the job they did.

People will mumble that the care given at the hospital should always be excellent because we pay hefty prices for it. I understand where they are coming from but I mean it when I say the care given at Conway Medical Center, especially from the nursing staff, goes above and beyond that standard of excellence. To Sidney’s doctor (Dr. Collins) to our pediatrician (Dr. Sangtian) to the nurse who taught our birthing class (Tammy) to the fabulous crew of nurses who helped us out during our stay (Penny, Becky, Dixie, Tracy, Jeana, Jill, Jennifer, Tracy, Abby, Amelia, Faith)…THANK YOU. We sincerely appreciate the incredible job you did. Don’t Blink.

Long, Painful Process; Beautiful, Perfect Result

As I sit here in our living room admiring our beautiful baby daughter, it is hard to come to grips with one thing. Last week at this time, Sidney and I had gone to work and lived our lives just like any normal day. Seven days later we now live an entire different existence, one that transformed through dramatic events over the past several days. The hard part isn’t that we have our precious Sloan (hardly); rather, it is just conceptualizing the fact that the crazy delivery journey we went on started less than a week ago.

Currently I am admiring my baby daughter. Let me introduce all of my readers to Sloan.

Last Wednesday seems like forever to me. After I finished my workout I called Sidney to check up on her as she wasn’t feeling too well that morning. Expecting her to tell me that she stayed home from school or that she had started to feel better, she told me something completely different. The doctor’s office had advised her to go to the labor and delivery wing of Conway Medical Center to get checked out. I jumped in the locker room shower, got dressed, dashed into my office for two minutes, and rushed to the hospital.

Sidney was hooked up to a machine that was monitoring her blood pressure and the movements of our baby. She had also given a blood sample that was being evaluated. With Sidney in obvious discomfort, we waited about an hour until the doctor came in. When she did arrive, she gave us her recommendation…

Let’s induce.

Throughout the entire week-long saga, including throughout the C-section, I didn’t come nearly as close to passing out than at that moment. I had to ask my sister-in-law to let me sit down in her chair to gather myself for a second. Sidney, the person who should have received all the support and attention at that time, coached me to put my head between my legs and take deep breaths. The journey had just started.

The journey had just started but it would ultimately end with this beautiful girl.

Sidney would be transferred shortly thereafter to an actual labor and delivery room (we were in an exam room at the time). Once in the new digs, the failed induction process would span over three days. At around lunchtime on Friday, with the medications given to her ultimately counteracting each other resulting in only mild contractions, the decision was made to go with an unplanned C-section. By 3 p.m. on that glorious St. Patrick’s Day, we welcomed Sloan Anne Reser into the world.

We are so pleased with our daughter Sloan.

After Sloan’s birth, three more nights in the hospital followed. Although Sloan was doing great, the medical staff needed to monitor and treat Sidney. As we spent Sunday evening in our postpartum room, the final night of our stint at Conway Medical Center, it would be an understatement to say we were itching to get out of the place. Although we couldn’t be more thankful to the nurses and doctors, it was time to check out.

When Monday morning rolled around, we were so ready to go home!

Sidney and Sloan were discharged on a gorgeous, sunny Monday morning. I was a tad bit nervous driving us home but I got the job done. Taking our daughter into our house was so liberating and joyous. That night, Sidney’s family came over and we had a “Welcome Home” dinner for both “my girls.”

Sloan on her way home from the hospital.

This post was meant to just give the bare bones of our crazy and unpredictable ride. In the future I hope to write more about specific parts of our experience. But let me tell you this: Sidney was so brave throughout the entire 5+ days spent at the hospital. True to her sweet nature, she has said numerous times since we have been home that the unique ordeal was totally worth it.

Sloan is now home and we are so happy.

We are incredibly happy. Sloan has already stolen our hearts and is the sweetest baby we could have ever imagined. Sidney is still healing but she is one proud mama. We thank everyone for your constant support and we can’t say enough how great God is. Don’t Blink.

Attending A Birthing Class

My eyes were recently opened even more to a major event that will soon bless the lives of Sidney and I. Yesterday we went to Conway Medical Center, the hospital where our daughter will be born, for a birthing class. On our calendar for about a month now, we both had anxiously anticipated this all-day event as an opportunity to become more accustomed to what we could expect on the big day. With the stork marking the spot on the door we were supposed to enter, we quickly found the location where we would spend the next six hours.

With the stork marking the spot, we walked through this door to enter our birthing class at Conway Medical Center.

By the time the class was called to order at 9 a.m., we were surrounded by five other couples. The 12 of us (or 18 of us depending how you look at it) would be under the direction of a labor and delivery nurse named Tammy. A 37-year-vet of this type of nursing, we knew we were in good hands with her. Nurse Tammy opened the session with a pep talk on how the women in the room were more than capable of the monumental task of giving birth while also stressing the importance us guys play in our role as “coaches.”

Then the movies started. Throughout the day, we watched videos that followed various couples around as they navigated the realm of childbirth. Filmed in an educational/documentary style, Nurse Tammy showed clips that addressed preparing for the hospital, prelabor signs, true vs. false labor, onset of labor, labor itself, the different types of birth, medication options, and postpartum care.

A look at the layout of our birthing class. You can see three of the five couples that joined us. Nurse Tammy is up front starting a video. Our class took place at Conway Medical Center.

It was a lot to take in but the clips were broken up and we had a discussion after each one. The biggest eye opening part for me? In my life, I had never watched a woman give birth before, whether it be through the natural process or through a Cesarean. These videos made no qualms about showing the miracle of life in an up close and personal manner. When I walked out the door at the end of the day, I knew exactly what it looks like for a baby to enter the world.

Of course it wasn’t just videos and discussions though. Nurse Tammy took us on a tour of The Birth Place, the place at Conway Medical Center where we will have our baby. We strolled through the entire wing, walked inside a delivery room, met the staff, and looked at a postpartum room. While on this tour we had the opportunity to view all the room amenities such as the retractable mirror on the wall, the rollout bed for the husband, and the monitoring system used by nursing staff to insure that we are never alone in case we need something.

The opportunity to tour The Birth Place at Conway Medical Center was very much appreciated. I took this photo as we followed the other couples into the facility.

We also learned breathing exercises. Although one of the videos covered it as well, Nurse Tammy took time to offer us some breathing hints for when labor comes. She also gave us some massage techniques and stretching exercises that can help reduce stress and relieve pain for the mom.

A couple more photos of us touring The Birth Place at Conway Medical Center.

Toward the end of the day, Nurse Tammy brought out what she called her “toys.” She showed us an epidural tray, a skeleton of the pelvis, a vacuum extractor, a catheter, and several other instruments. It was cool to see these things right in front of us. Nurse Tammy explained that “knowledge is power” and that it is important to be familiar with some of the tools we will encounter while in the delivery room.

In the days leading up to the birthing class, Sidney joked that I was most excited about the free lunch and snacks advertised on the registration form. The free food did not disappoint! Fruit, graham crackers, and juice/water were offered in the classroom throughout the day. However, the best part was the lunch. They let us loose in the cafeteria and allowed us to get whatever we wanted. I hauled out a tray that included pasta, turkey, cornbread, and pudding. I told Sid that the lunch itself pretty much paid for the class!

Sidney and I enjoying our time at the birthing class.

But the complimentary food wasn’t what I wrote down as the best part of the day. When I filled out the evaluation, I noted that the biggest strength of the class was the opportunity for Q&A with Nurse Tammy. Throughout the day, and especially at the end, we could ask questions about anything and everything. Sidney asked a lot of great questions and the other couples asked some really good ones as well. Nothing was off limits and it was very nice to have a person who has seen it all through four decades in nursing give us truthful and compassionate answers.

The birthing class was worth the time and investment. I thank Conway Medical Center and Nurse Tammy for preparing us for an upcoming major event in our lives. Don’t Blink.