Safe Delivery for Brookings Mom with COVID-19
I'm Jess Cooper. Originally from the Twin Cities area. Mental health practitioner up there. Moved here two years ago to Brookings, and been staying home with my kids for the last two years.
Tell us about your children.
Calvin, he's the oldest. He's three. Myles is my second. He's 18 months and Lauren is two months.
When were you diagnosed with COVID-19?
I was diagnosed on Easter. Came in a few days before that for just a regular checkup appointment. When I came up, I was really out of breath and I had a really high pulse rate. And I just thought it was because I was nine months pregnant. Anyways, they sent me over to the OB department just to run a few tests and make sure that there was nothing else going on. And then because all the tests came back completely normal, they did the COVID-19 test. And then I thought it would be negative because why would I have that? I've been staying at home for the last four weeks. And a couple of days later, they came back and said it was positive.
How did Dr. Bennis and the team provide support after your COVID-19 diagnosis?
I had gotten a call from Dr. Bennis right away the next day, and she had consulted with...I don't even know who she consulted with, but people that are doing this for a living, I guess, and they told her that they needed to do a delivery as soon as they could. So, she was super apologetic about it. I think she felt awful that it was going to have to happen the way that it was happening. But she was really good. She walked us through how everything would go and what her plans were and what everything was going to look like. And then a little while later, I had gotten a call from the nursing department, Mary, and she walked us through everything as well of how her nursing staff was going to take care of everything, how they were going to make me feel comfortable, what they were going to do. So, that was really nice.
How did the COVID-19 diagnosis change your birth plan?
Originally, my parents were supposed to come out to Brookings from Wisconsin. So, they were going to come earlier that week and watch the boys so that we would, you know, kind of be ready if she came early or what was going to happen. But I actually had a C-section scheduled already for the week after, so it was going to kind of work out. So they were going to come out, and then once we got that call, it was like, "Well, they can't come out anymore." His parents can't come out, you know, because everybody is older and just couldn't really risk them getting sick. So, yeah, I think immediately it was like, "Okay, well, he's not going to be there, so, alright. That changes things quite a bit." So, yeah, he stayed home with the kids, and at 6:00 a.m on the 15th, I drove myself in to have a baby.
How did the staff accommodate your unique delivery?
So, they actually met me out in the parking lot. Got everything together, got me masked and, you know, whatever they needed to do, help me carry all my stuff in since I was by myself. And then I was down in a room downstairs by myself, kind of in this isolation area. When I walked into the room, they actually had flowers that they had sent from the nursing staff and from the doctors that were helping. And then they had the room decorated with pink balloons and pink stuff on the walls. So, yeah, it was really nice that way. It just felt like, "Oh, okay. It's still kind of a special experience, even though I'm by myself." Like, it was just very thoughtful.
How did the staff safely include your family during delivery?
In the delivery room, they actually did FaceTime. So, the anesthesiologist, he held my phone, and then he FaceTimed both Tom and the kids. And actually, that was really fun. We wouldn't have had it that way. You know, it would have just been me and Tom in there. And it was really fun to have the boys on camera too, you know. Obviously, they don't really know what's going on, but it was fun to see them, and I think they really liked it. Got to see their sister.
How was your delivery?
You know, you walk in and it just looks like you're walking into, I don't know, that scene from "E.T". And it was nice, though, because I was sitting on the table and, of course, I'm the only one not in any sort of suit, but each person introduced themselves to me. I just remember them looking at me in the eye telling me their names and who they were and what they did. And yeah, I think that just made it a lot more comfortable. Obviously, I wasn't going to be able to recognize who all these people were, but I think, in that moment, they recognized that it was scary.
Why was your c-section early?
If it was after 37 weeks, the very small amount of research that they had seen was that if I didn't develop symptoms and I was pregnant, it would have gotten exponentially worse. And so, I think their whole thought process behind it was if I did get sick, it was easier to take care of one person being sick rather than a person and a baby, and then trying to deliver when I was really sick. So, I think they were just trying to beat the symptoms if I were to get them.
What did you appreciate most about Brookings Health System?
I really appreciate being listened to. I think there's never a time where I didn't feel like my concerns were being heard. You know, I think no matter when you're pregnant, whether it's your first kid or your third kid, you still have 10,000 questions, and you're still a mom, and you still get nervous and want to make sure everything is okay. And I think it can be really easy for doctors and nurses to push you off and even if everything is normal...I mean, I'm not a doctor. I'm not a nurse. I don't know. So, I really appreciate being listened to and being cared for in that way.
What advice would you give to women in your situation?
First, I would say don't panic. It will be okay. But I would also say ask as many questions as you want. Don't worry about feeling stupid and don't worry about looking stupid. I think that there's so many unknowns with it that it is really scary and you want to feel as safe as you can. But yeah, I think the first thing is just don't panic. It's not always going to be as bad as you think it's going to be.
Why was a local birth at Brookings Health System important to you?
It's a community hospital, so you come in and you see familiar faces every time you're here. I think in pregnancy, especially, that's what you want to see, right? Like, you want to know that the person that is taking care of you is part of your community and has, you know, lasting ties here. And I think, you know, you want to feel as comfortable as you can and being in this community and with this health system, you do. I felt very comfortable coming in, and it was nice to see the same faces every time.
What would you tell mothers considering delivery at Brookings Health System?
It's a really good experience, even in a normal pregnancy. You get the care that you would expect, and you guys go above and beyond here. And when things don't go as expected is when you really want to be with Brookings Health System because they care about you. They do everything that they can to make you feel comfortable, and you know that you're in the best place that you could possibly be, I think.
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