For this week’s blog post, with her permission I am sharing a letter I received from Tara Holicky, a practice manager in Geriatrics, about her experience as a patient at GBMC when delivering her second baby. Tara’s story is a wonderful example of GBMC delivering the kind of care that we would want for our own loved one.
After sometime, I’ve finally found the words to write to say thank you to hard working employees at GBMC. I, myself, am actually a GBMC employee. I started here after my first child was born in 2005. It’s taken me some time to write this letter, because despite multiple attempts I’ve been unable to find the right way to express how grateful I am to the nurses, techs, doctors, and downright everyone for the miracle I have today.
In 2011, I was pregnant with my second child. It was a very uneventful, normal pregnancy. I had a c-section with my first and planned to have a scheduled c-section on 8/29/12 at 8 am. (I wasn’t due until Labor Day, ironic I know).
To my surprise on the evening of July 11, 2011, my water broke. I honestly thought I had an accident at first, and ignored it. But when it seemed to be continuing, I called my OB’s office who advised I go in just in case. Imagine my horror when I was told that indeed my water had broken. I wasn’t even 32 weeks yet. I panicked at the thought. But the nurses were there for me. They explained what would happen – I would be admitted. They wouldn’t actively try to induce labor since it was a slow leak and the baby seemed okay, but they also wouldn’t try to stop labor if it happened either. I would be staying in the hospital one way or another until my baby was born. Fear cannot explain what I went through that first night in Labor and Delivery. Wondering if I would get transferred to high risk, would everything be ok? What would the NICU consult mean? I didn’t sleep the entire night. My nurses comforted and talked to me even though they were busy with other families having babies. Each person who came into my room took time to really talk to me, knowing how scared I must be.
After a few days, despite not going into labor my fluid levels were too low for the baby to be safe, and I was whisked to the OR for an emergency c-section. I was again terrified. I had been through a c-section before, but this was different she was too early, I had to prepare myself that she might not cry, she may not make it, all the “what-ifs” that go along with a preemie. But again, GBMC employees were there for me. They explained exactly what was happening; the team in the OR all explained what would happen when she was born.
On July 13, 2011, around 10 am, my beautiful little 3 lb miracle was born at 32 weeks and 1 day. And she screamed! It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever head. As it turned out she actually had a true knot in her cord, so it was quite lucky my water broke when it did. The NICU team gave me a quick look and hug before they whisked her off to be fully evaluated. My husband quickly followed them out, and the remaining OR team was there to comfort me while they sewed me up. In recovery, I was fraught. All the other women got to see their baby and I was there alone. But the nurses understood my pain, and helped me deal.
In postpartum, again, my family could all go to the NICU but I wasn’t able to yet. Nurses, techs, housekeepers, even the people who delivered meals, were all sensitive to this. They took the time to ask how she was, asked to see pictures, etc. They were truly caring. That evening when they told me I could up to the NICU, I was thrilled. The NICU nurse who said I could hold her was my hero in that moment. I had never seen a baby so small, much less held one. To have my baby there in my arms doing okay, was such a miracle to me in that moment.
It is tough to be in Post Partum when you can’t just have your baby in the room. It is difficult to see families going home with their new little bundle of joy, knowing you will not get to do the same thing. The nurses in Post Partum and the NICU were amazing people. On my discharge from GBMC I cried so hard. And Taylor my nurse sat down and cried with me. She made me understand that it was okay to be sad, but I would be back tomorrow morning to see her. The nurses in the NICU encouraged me to call in the middle of the night if I wanted to check in.
Since I worked at GBMC, my plan was to just go to the NICU for the full day while my husband was at work. I could sit my office when I needed to. Monica, a NICU nurse, knew that I wasn’t thinking clearly as woman who was recovering from her own surgery and arranged for me to use a room to rest during the day when I needed to. I was so thankful to be able to take a nap during the day. I was in the NICU essentially every day for at least 8 hours thereafter during the day. I would cry when my husband came at 5 pm knowing we’d have to go home for the night.
However, we were extremely lucky, despite her small size, my little girl was a fighter, and even though I was told she would need to stay until she was at least 35 weeks, she was discharged after only 13 days.
She is now a happy, healthy almost 17 month old, that you just saw the other day at the T. Rowe Price Scholarship award ceremony. Despite her small size she is bundle of energy. I thank the superb employees of GBMC for making this happen. I am certain I cannot remember everyone by name and for that I am sorry, but I want to specifically thank Post Partum nurses Taylor, Suzie, Susan and all the others I know I’m forgetting. The NICU nurses, Monica, Tamara, Janice, Pat, Ellen. The doctors, my OB. Dr. Allen, the NICU team, Dr. Pane, Dr. Birenbaum and Dr. Helou, and the countless others at GBMC, housekeepers, techs, and meal servicers. You are all special to me in that you each contributed to making my family whole.
What a great example of Team GBMC rallying around a patient and her family! We need to continue our work to make this happen for every patient, every time.
This story is a good reminder that during this time of year we have many things to be thankful for and appreciative of, both in our personal lives as well as at work. Happy Holidays to all and best wishes for a safe and enjoyable holiday season.