If Michelle Brenner learned anything from the deliveries of her first two sons, it was how to go with the flow.
“Sometimes the best birth plan is no birth plan,” says Michelle. “You can’t plan everything because you really don’t know how it’s going to go. The whole point is that you have a healthy baby at the end of it all.”
The Brenner boys had a history of arriving ahead of schedule. Blake—now 6—arrived nearly a month early. His 3-year-old brother Cole delivered ten days early. So when Michelle and her husband, Devin, learned they were expecting their third son, they adopted a laid-back, relaxed approach.
With the Maternity Center at Indiana University Health West Hospital just minutes away, the Plainfield couple continued with life as usual. The family was already familiar with the remarkable care the maternity unit provides to newborns and their mothers after delivering Cole there just a few years before.
“We have a good relationship with my obstetrician. There really wasn’t much to get ready this time. We already had most of the stuff we needed left over from the older boys,” says Michelle, “but it wasn’t like I had a bag packed and ready to go either.”
Michelle’s contractions started while at work one Monday in early May. She was content to ride them out until they got to around three minutes apart. Then it was time to call the grandparents to come stay with the boys and it was off to the hospital.
“We got to the hospital around 11 on Tuesday night, and at 5:09 Wednesday morning, Max was born,” says Michelle. “Everything went so smoothly and our nurses were great.”
It was unusually busy at the Maternity Center that night and everyone on the unit was pitching in to help out. That’s how Cindy Bemis, MSN, RN, clinical manager of maternity services with IU Health West Hospital, ended up as Michelle’s labor and delivery nurse.
“I’m not in the labor and delivery room nearly as often as I used to be,” says Cindy. “The Brennan’s were so calm and supportive of one another. It was a pleasure to help them make this birthday one they would remember fondly.”
Everything about the Maternity Center at IU Health West is designed to make the birth experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible: cozy home-like furnishings and artwork, flat screen televisions and music players in every room. The Maternity Center features six LDPRs (labor, delivery, recovery and post partum rooms). New moms and their babies remain in the same room with the same team of caregivers throughout their stay.
“The nurses and staff there see babies born all the time. To them this is their job, but they never made us feel that way,” says Michelle. “The really were excited for us and they seemed to realize this was one of the most important days in our lives.”
That focus on relationships extends to the entire family. The rooms are large enough to accommodate the loved ones mom wants by her side for delivery. The unit also features a light, airy family waiting area when mom needs a little quiet time to herself.
“We had a friend come and take pictures when the boys came to see Max for the first time,” says Michelle. “They were so happy to see him. They couldn’t stop smiling.”
For mothers, such as Michelle, who choose to have an epidural, or for those who require a cesarean section, IU Health West Hospital offers 24-hour anesthesia service.
“We have a team of excellent anesthesiologists, who are in the hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If we have an emergency, we do not have to wait for someone to come in,” explains Cindy. “And a laboring mom won’t have to wait long if she wants to have an epidural.”
During the Brenner’s stay, little Max was examined by one of IU Health West Hospital’s pediatric hospitalists.
A hospitalist is a doctor who specializes in caring for people in the hospital. A pediatric hospitalist further specializes in the care of newborns and hospitalized children. The pediatric hospitalists at IU Health West Hospital are committed to providing families with thorough and timely information during a child's stay, and to providing pediatrician with similar updates and a complete report when a child is discharged.
“I feel 100 percent confident in the pediatric hospitalists there, knowing the boys were getting great care,” says Michelle. “I like that our pediatrician knows everything about the boys from the very beginning, even if we don’t see her until a few days after we go home from the hospital.”
With her first two deliveries, Michelle remembers feeling like she couldn’t wait to get home. This time it was a little different. “Maybe because I knew this was my last time, I was really enjoying being at the hospital with Max and my husband and just having a relaxing, nice time.”
The transition home has gone as smooth as Max’s birth. “My husband spends time with the older boys when I feed or take care of the baby,” says Michelle. “Max seems to have naturally slid right into our lives.”