It’s been said many times before, but sometimes, life can throw some real curveballs at you. No matter how much you carefully prepare for the arrival of your first child, Mother Nature sometimes has other plans. For Amanda and Brandon Wervey, it turns out that visiting family for Christmas resulted in the best possible present they could ever hope to receive.
The Werveys live in Shawano, WI where Amanda works as a special education teacher. Having grown up in Sauk City, it was perfectly normal for her and her husband to visit her parents’ home in late December 2020. Yes, she was pregnant with their first child, but with her pregnancy proceeding normally, and a due date of January 11, a brief holiday family visit seemed totally fine.
Amanda and Brandon arrived at her parents’ home around 2:00 in the afternoon on December 24. As Amanda tells us, “We were just hanging out with family, then around 6 o’clock my water broke. So, needless to say, we were like, ‘OK, what do we do now?’”
Fortunately, the Werveys were prepared for just about anything. Says Amanda, “We actually traveled with the car seat and hospital bag, just in case something would happen.” And something did.
Faced with a three-hour return car ride to their hometown hospital in Shawano, and temperatures in the teens and headed down from there, Amanda saw things this way, “A lot can happen in three hours, so I didn’t want to risk it.”
Add in the fact that Amanda spent the first 18 years of her life growing up in Sauk City, she knew the solid reputation of Sauk Prairie Healthcare, plus having family right in town and the choice was clear — “I know it’s a good hospital. I’m familiar with what they’ve got, and the doctors, so I felt confident. I have friends and family who had delivered at the hospital and had a good experience.”
Confident in the decision to have their baby at Sauk Prairie Healthcare’s Birth Center, the couple drove to the fairly empty parking lot and made their way inside the building on the evening of Christmas Eve.
Although Amanda and Brandon were first-time parents, they imagined delivering a baby around Christmas, during a pandemic no less, might be a little unusual. But, once it was confirmed that she was in labor, Amanda was given a room in the Birth Center and immediately set at ease by everyone she encountered. “The staff were really great. Anne, the nurse who worked with us through the night was fabulous. Really calm and collected. She helped me stay calm, she was always there to help get us whatever we needed. She made us feel comfortable.”
The Birth Center’s labor and delivery nurses, together with Dr. Kristine Bathke (part of the entire team of eight providers from Prairie Clinic who deliver babies — a certified nurse midwife, family medicine physicians, and obstetrics and gynecologic surgeons) all helped Amanda achieve her primary goal, “I did not want any medications or anything like that unless absolutely needed.”
Throughout her entire Christmas delivery experience, from the time Amanda made her wishes known, all the way through the arrival of her baby, Henry, “I was grateful they never offered pain meds. I just kept telling myself that I didn’t need it. I can do this. They definitely helped me feel empowered that I was able to do it without medication. There wasn’t pressure. They listened to me.”
Supporting her plan to avoid pain medications during delivery, Amanda also had plenty of alternative supports from the Birth Center nurses. “They offered me essential oils for relaxation and definitely encouraged me to just keep doing what I was doing and breathe. The nurses helped me as much as they needed to, but I just listened to my body.”
Amanda reminds us that even her husband, Brandon, felt respected and informed throughout the delivery of Henry, “The nurses talked to him too. They didn’t talk only to me when they were telling us about what would happen. They made a point to include him. He got to cut the cord and all that. The nurses even offered to take pictures for us. They played the role that we needed and were hoping for.”
Although they had pulled into the parking lot at Sauk Prairie Healthcare the evening of Christmas Eve, Amanda and Brandon’s son, Henry, waited until Christmas morning to make them a family of three. Amanda recalls, “It was a really good experience. We had great staff who we worked with. No complaints about how things went.”
Staying in her room at the Birth Center until the next day, Amanda continued to have helpful staff interactions. “I remember Bridget, the lactation consultant and nurse, she was wonderful. She was super helpful. We were having some issues with Henry latching at first, so she helped guide me with trying different feeding positions. She was great with that. She even called us two weeks later to do a follow up to see how things were going with breastfeeding. I thought that was really great.”
With COVID-19 protocols in place, the Werveys weren’t allowed to stroll the hallways in and around the Birth Center, but their stay still remained comfortable. The nurses always made them feel connected and informed. As Amanda tells us, “They were very informational. If we had any questions, they had answers or whatever we needed.”
Leaving the Birth Center in the late afternoon of December 26, Amanda and Brandon picked up where their family visit had been just a few days earlier by again visiting her parents — now grandparents! — to show off their newborn son.
Today, Henry’s just a bit bigger. As Amanda proudly tells us, “He’s doing really well. He’s grown a lot. He was seven pounds, nine ounces when he was born, but now he’s over 16 pounds. He’s going to be a big boy and developmentally, he’s right in line with where he should be. He’s smiling and talking, so it’s fun!”
For Amanda and Brandon, clearly Henry continues to be the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.
For answers to your questions about the Birth Center at Sauk Prairie Healthcare, to schedule a tour, or to make an appointment with one of our providers, contact us any time.