For Greta and her husband Mike Kock of Middleton, WI, theirs is a birth story that spans more than a decade of doctor/patient relationship as their family has grown to include three kids.
“I’ve been going to Dr. Bathke as my regular OBGYN for the past 10 years. She’s always been wonderful to be around to help guide us in this journey, to answer questions. I’ve always felt confident with her,” says Greta.
Interestingly, Dr. Kristine Bathke — one of the eight providers who deliver babies at Prairie Clinic — has not always practiced here in Sauk Prairie. Greta and Mike first met her as Greta’s lead provider for the arrival of their first child, Scott, then for the delivery of their daughter, Kristen, 11 months later. Both deliveries happened in a hospital in Madison.
With regard to the timing of the couple’s first two kids, Greta smiles and tells us, “Hello, we’re pregnant again? Yep, they’re 11 months apart. And of course, we went with Dr. Bathke with everything — all my checkups and everything.”
In fact, on the day of their daughter’s planned induction and delivery, “I was pushing, pushing, pushing and after a time, it was evident that baby wasn’t coming out. But little five-foot-three Dr. Bathke gets right in there and delivered a healthy baby within minutes. Dr. B knew exactly when to take action and help deliver a big, screaming, healthy baby girl.”
The collaboration with Dr. Bathke didn’t end there as Greta continues the story. “Mike and I had then been trying for years to have a third child. And when we found out I was pregnant with our third, I of course thought, let’s have Dr. Bathke deliver this child. But we found out that she had moved to Sauk Prairie Healthcare which would be a longer drive for me to go to appointments, but we had no question. We were going to follow her no matter where she goes. She’s very confident in what she does, very calming and a very nurturing doctor. And she and Mike have always had a great relationship, too. We really like our Dr. Bathke.”
Mike quickly adds, “We not only refer to her as ‘our’ Dr. Bathke, but as our friend, too.”
This relationship proved even more vital as Greta and Mike came to Dr. Bathke with an added twist in preparation for the arrival of their third child. Their first child, Scott, had by this time been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and apraxia. In an effort to help their son, Greta had discovered a research study from Duke University that makes use of umbilical cord blood for a transfusion in the hopes of improving outcomes for children with not just ASD, but a variety of other challenges.
Greta tells us, “We were figuring out ways to help our son and I basically came across this study from Duke that was enrolling kids with umbilical cord blood from a sibling, and it went from there.”
Dr. Bathke’s reaction to participating in the study according to Greta? “She was excited! When I first brought it to her attention, when I was pregnant with our third child, and I talked about what we hoped to get done — saving the umbilical cord blood — she was interested. She definitely read up on the procedure.”
Mike saw Dr. Bathke’s interest, too. “She was very engaged. Not just a passive ‘Oh good for you, have a nice day.’ That’s not her. And that speaks to her character. She’s a caring person.”
Adding any variables to something as unpredictable as the birth of a baby must be carefully planned. As Greta says, Dr. Bathke was all about the preparation. “The Duke procedure has about 20 steps that had to be done exactly right in order for the umbilical blood to be harvested and shipped to them, otherwise it would have been no good. I remember Dr. Bathke made copies of the paperwork and read over all the steps necessary. She took the time to make sure this was going to be done correctly, that we were going to have good blood sent to Duke for a transfusion into our eldest son.”
“Which has happened,” Mike continues. “And we’re grateful it has happened. There are a few things we’re seeing. There’s been some improvement in our son and hopefully, this research will add to the cause for improvement for another family.”
Says Greta, “And since then, when I’ve had my follow-up appointments for our youngest boy, Dr. Bathke always asks how our oldest son is doing. She treats you as an individual, as a person. She knows I have hard days with the kiddos. She doesn’t just treat me like a number. When I go to see her, she always asks about Mike and the kids, how I’m doing physically, mentally. More than anything, she’s always very real.”
When asked if she would recommend Dr. Bathke and her colleagues at Prairie Clinic in the Women’s Center, Greta recalls meeting all three obstetrics and gynecologic surgeons in preparation for the Duke study procedure. “I felt confident with all three doctors — Dr. Schad, Dr. Welsch and Dr. Bathke. I remember coming home from an appointment and saying to Mike, ‘If I get any of the three of them for my delivery, I feel really good about it. I feel really confident with all three of these doctors.’ Still, my favorite is Dr. Bathke, and I highly recommend her. She’s down-to-earth and she cares about you.”
And Mike’s perspective? “If a neighbor’s coming down the street who’s pregnant saying ‘Where did you guys go to have your baby delivered?’ We’re recommending Dr. Bathke all day long. Dr. B is great. I always say referrals aren’t deserved; they’re earned. I would recommend Sauk Prairie Healthcare in a heartbeat.”
Greta picks up from there. “I wanted a smaller setting. The nurses in the hospital were wonderful. The room was plush. I even mistakenly called it my hotel room. It was big, luxurious and wonderful.”
Mike remembers, “We had a beautiful view out of the room, of the prairie. In Madison, you’re staring at buildings.”
Like many parents, Greta and Mike experience daily joys and struggles. But thanks to a solid working relationship with Greta’s doctor — that has evolved into a friendship — their support network stays strong.
If you have questions for the Birth Center team at Sauk Prairie Healthcare, or would like to schedule a tour, please contact us any time.