SMCH Family Care Team provides Comfort to Laboring Mom

Tillie Lynn Reynolds sits on an examining table in a room at McCrary Rost Clinic in Lake City. The happy ten month old baby is content to tear the paper protective sheet as Dr. Derek Duncan performs a well child exam. Reassured that Tillie’s heart and lungs sound good, her parents, Sarah Jo and Adam smile and answer questions about her teeth, sleeping patterns and how close she is to walking. Big brother Ty, who is two and a half, busily explores the room.

Before the couple moved to their farm between Rockwell City and Lake City, they had lived for a time in Ames. When Sarah Jo became pregnant with Ty, the decision was made to seek care locally. After their move, Sarah’s second pregnancy had her asking family and friends for recommendations. She was told the obstetric team of Dr. Duncan and Dr. Susan Hornback at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital would be a great fit for her. “For us, the proximity of care was huge. We would be able to do all our OB visits and deliver our baby close to home. I’d heard that SMCH had received national recognition and that was comforting to know.”

The Lake City hospital earned two prestigious awards in 2016 from Press Ganey, based on its high patient satisfaction ratings. Cindy Carstens, CEO, explains, “We conduct nurse shift change at the bedside to keep patients informed about their plan of care, and we use transition coaches to educate patients about their stay and current health issues. We also reduce anxiety through the implementation of our planning for discharge approach which brings together many departments to ensure all of the patients’ needs are met during their stay and after they go home.”

During her pregnancy, Sarah Jo commends the clinic nurses in Dr. Duncan’s office. “They were really informative and answered any questions I had.”

When Sarah Jo’s delivery date neared, Dr. Duncan recommended inducing her labor. During Ty’s birth, the delivery of the over eight pound baby was difficult, leading to a longer recovery. To avoid that, Dr. Duncan measured her abdomen at an appointment a week or so prior to her due date, and recommended that an induction be scheduled. “While we almost always prefer a labor to start spontaneously, sometimes getting labor started with an induction is indicated based on the individual situation,” notes Dr. Duncan. A few days later, on July 19, 2016, Sarah Jo and Adam arrived at the hospital for the delivery.

While mom and baby were closely monitored, Sarah Jo’s water was broken in order to start labor. She was also injected with a synthetic hormone, pitocin, to cause contractions. Additionally, she was given an epidural to decrease pain from the contractions. Sarah Jo recalls, “Everyone in the delivery room was so calm. The timing of everything was perfect – the epidural had time to take effect and the pain was a lot less than during Ty’s birth. When I was ready, I pushed for about an hour until Tillie was born at 12:05 pm.”

Sarah Jo appreciates the care the nursing staff provided during her labor and to her nine pound, 4 ounce, 21.5 inch baby girl, especially registered nurse Ashley Mork. “She was amazing! She could tell by my reactions what I was feeling. She was very in tune with what my body was going through. She kept her composure and kept me calm.”

Sarah Jo enthused about the care she and Tillie received after the birth. “We stayed for two nights and the nurses were great, day and night. They always introduced themselves, and anything I needed was brought quickly.”

The family went home where the baby and her brother are growing and thriving. “Overall, it was a wonderful experience to give birth at SMCH,” says Sarah Jo. “It’s comforting to know we will use the clinic and hospital for years to come. The staff is so great to work with. They work with my schedule for appointments and are so personable with my kids. They don’t make me feel like I’m bringing in a circus with my busy toddler and growing baby. They take it in stride, and I know I can trust these knowledgeable professionals.”