On December 27, 2016, Allie Brown, 26, was pregnant with her first child and 10 days away from her due date. That morning, she had a routine appointment with her obstetrician. “My doctor said I would be uncomfortable, but I wasn’t ready to deliver just yet,” says Allie.
Shortly after returning home, Allie began having contractions that quickly became intense and close together. Fortunately, Progress West Hospital is close by, only a few minutes from her home in O’Fallon, Mo. After Allie was admitted and given an epidural, her baby’s heart rate spiked, which made a cesarean section necessary. “I had no idea what to expect, but I was surprisingly calm. It helped that my doctor and the nurses were so reassuring — they weren’t nervous at all,” says Allie.
The c-section was performed and Allie’s daughter, Riley, was born at 3:48 a.m. the next morning. During the delivery, Allie spiked a fever due to an infection of the amniotic membranes surrounding the baby. Allie was placed on antibiotics, and as a precaution, so was Riley. The danger in these situations is that the baby becomes septic, which can lead to organ injury or failure.
“Providing special care to newborns — administering antibiotics, giving oxygen or drawing blood — takes a specialized level of skill and experience that all of our OB nurses have,” says Jody Tharp, assistant nurse manager for Women & Infants at Progress West Hospital. “We’re also fully equipped to support moms if they need additional support should complications arise during or after delivery.”
Aside from standard well baby care assessments like heart and hearing screenings, the hospital’s labor and delivery nurses are also certified to provide more acute care like neonatal resuscitation (NPR), glucose monitoring and assisting with intubation if needed. For both well and special care situations, the staff is committed to keeping mom and baby together as much as possible.
When Riley wasn’t receiving antibiotics, she was in Allie’s room, allowing her to bond with her mom and dad, Chris Berardino. Because Riley’s antibiotics required that she be hospitalized longer than Allie, Allie and Chris were given a private and complimentary room until all three of them could go home together — a service Progress West Hospital provides all families in these situations.
“They really took care of all of us, including Chris. We were able to stay close to Riley, which was really comforting,” says Allie. “And, with the hospital so close by, it was easy for Chris to run home and let our dog out.” Four days later, they were able to take Riley home.
A Newborn Intensive Care Unit in St. Charles County
Progress West Hospital’s nursery is a Level II NICU, able to provide care for newborns born 32 weeks and above. As a BJC HealthCare hospital, patients also have access to many world-class resources like St. Louis Children’s Hospital pediatricians, who care for both babies and pediatric patients, and Washington University neonatologists to consult on cases.
“Adding the special care nursery in 2017 was a natural progression for Progress West,” says Jane Bruegenhemke, clinical nurse manager for Women & Infants at Progress West Hospital. “For babies and moms requiring more attention, or who have an illness or condition, this allows them to receive the care they need while staying close to home.”
Throughout their stay in the hospital, Allie and Riley received care from an experienced team of doctors and nurses. “I loved my experience at Progress West because of the staff. The team was so wonderful and friendly. They made sure we were all comfortable and doing well,” says Allie.
All of the labor and delivery nurses are passionate about what they do, which is evident in the care they provide to each patient. “I love obstetrics. We are privileged to be a part of the experience for these families. It’s not an everyday occurrence — it’s life-changing,” says Jane. “It’s always amazing to see the birth of a baby.”
Riley is doing great — and so is her mom. “I tell all my family and friends to come to Progress West Hospital, especially those expecting,” says Allie. “I had such a great experience. They helped us become a new family.”
To schedule a tour of the Childbirth Center at Progress West Hospital, call 636.928.WELL(9355)