Pregnancy and Postpartum Support for First-time Mom
My name is Allison Dahl and I'm from Brookings, South Dakota. And I work at the SDSU Foundation as a development administrative coordinator.
Tell us about your daughter, Evelyn.
She is newborn so still kind of growing into her personality. Loves to stare around and smile a lot which is fun for us and loves our dog, which is good because he's a big Doberman that loves to lick and play.
How did the staff support you during delivery?
We had one nurse named Lacey and she was absolutely amazing. We came in, she sat us down, kind of explained what the process was. We just weren't fully prepared yet for that and she was with us in our room the whole time. I had a lot of back labor, so she was really there supporting me and my husband and walking us through what was going to come next.
How did Dr. Haarsma support you during pregnancy?
Again, she was just exceptional. Evelyn was measuring small our whole pregnancy. We were in the tenth percentile or under tenth percentile most of the time. So every week we would come in for BPP tests. And then once a month, we'd be coming in for growth ultrasound tests. So we were here every week and every single time we had amazing ultrasound techs. We had Dr. Haarsma calling us every week letting us know what those results were and explaining what our next steps are and reassuring us that Evelyn is okay and she's growing. She's just going to run a little smaller than an average baby which was nice for us because since it's our first we didn't know how to react to that or how that was going to look later on or the effects it would have.
How was your postpartum recovery?
We had a night nurse named Morgan who sat with us and we couldn't get Evelyn calm. We just felt like we weren't winning and Morgan took her out of the room for about 30 minutes, gave us some time to just get ourselves together. We were frustrated and overwhelmed and brought her back in and said, "Here are three things I noticed that helped. Bouncing her like this. Wrapping her like this." And we've been doing it ever since and it's calmed her down every single time.
The first two days after Evelyn, it was just a different experience. You don't know what your body is doing or how to relate to it anymore. And so those nurses really helped us walk through and told us each step, "This is what's probably going to happen next and this is how you recover from X, Y, and Z." That really helped us and then going home, we've been on lots of walks and it's been good.
How did the staff support your husband?
So my husband really wanted to be hands-on. He is a athletic trainer so he's kind of in that medical field and he wants to know every single detail of every single thing. And so he was reading every book you could find and asking every question he could think of and to have Dr. Haarsma sit down with him and answer every question, and then during delivery, have Lacey talking with him and telling him the next steps and reassuring him that it'll be okay. To have those resources and have people there explaining to Woody, my husband, as well on what to do has really helped me. He's so much more hands-on now that he knows a lot, probably more than me most of the time with the books he reads.
Why did you choose to breastfeed?
Every mom has a different situation, but we chose to breastfeed because we thought that would be best. We wanted to kind of help build her immune system and we read that breast milk is a way to do that.
How did the Baby Café support your choice to breastfeed?
It was extremely helpful, especially because Evelyn was born at 5 pounds and 13 ounces. So she's just a small baby and we were nervous. We weren't sure how much I was able to breastfeed. She wasn't latching very well. So to go in there and have specialists who can sit down with you and talk to you and help you through all your frustrations and all your excitement. Even they'd celebrate us getting half an ounce, which doesn't seem like a lot but at the time it was awesome.
And then my husband also got to come, which was nice. They put us in a different room and the specialist would come in and just sit down and talk with us and walk through the steps. She wasn't getting enough, she was losing quite a bit of weight, so we started pumping and then feeding with a bottle. I brought my pump in and they sat down and went through every single setting of the pump because I didn't know how to work it and showed us how to work the pump and what would work and how to wean her off of a bottle if we wanted to go back to breastfeeding. They've answered every question we've had, which is amazing.
What would you tell someone considering deliver at Brookings Health System?
I would tell them 100% to come to Brookings Health. They're absolutely amazing. We have not had one bad experience. Every nurse and every doctor we've had helps us through any questions we have, helps us learn the process more, relates to us. What's amazing is we can tell them anything and they'll remember it the next time and they'll follow up with us. We're not just kind of forgotten or one of 100. Dr. Haarsma especially made us feel like we are a part of her family and treated us the same way.
Are you one of Brookings Health System's grateful patients who would like to give back to us? Learn more about how you can give back at brookingshealth.org/MyThanks.