“Smooth and Easy” Delivery Close to Home
My name is Kirsten Gjesdal. I am from Brookings and I own two retail stores in our downtown.
How did COVID affect your pregnancy?
The idea of giving birth during the pandemic was extremely nerve-wracking. And it was in the middle of April where things were still super fresh there wasn't a lot of studies done, there weren't a lot of protocols put out, nobody really knew what was happening. So for a month, two months almost, the only time I left the house was to go to the doctor. And the first time I went back to the grocery store, I bawled because I was so excited. So that was really scary. It was something that was definitely not what I was thinking was going to happen and just isolating. Like, we literally made a menu of food to last us a month and a half and went and bought all of it. Because we were like if we can't leave the house for a month. Like I gave birth at a time when there was no toilet paper in the entire city, like. So it was definitely not what we were expecting but everything turned out okay, so.
How was your care?
My care is really good throughout my pregnancy, I felt anytime we had questions or concerns that they were answered quickly and answered well. And if we needed additional tests, or ultrasounds or anything like that, that was recommended and taken care of really quickly. And then if we had questions that came up in between appointments, you could just send a quick, easy message online, and they usually responded within an hour, it was really nice and quick.
How did the staff prepare you for delivery?
They definitely talked me through kind of how things were looking. I brought up that I was really nervous about having to labor on my own and having to wear a mask during labor, all these things that I just was unsure about. Whether if I got sick before Johanna was born, like was she going to have issues like what did all of that look like? And they really kept me updated with how the hospital was functioning during that time. So every time we had an appointment, it was, "We're not requiring you to wear a mask while you are in labor, you'll still be able to have a support partner here is what has changed." And then anytime anything did change, they would let us know they'd email, keep us updated as I was getting really close to going into labor. So that was great to really talk me through what things were looking like as they were happening so I knew what to expect.
How did COVID change your birth plan?
So we had been talking about getting induced, just because there's some studies that came out saying that if you're induced during a certain time period like there's less chances of complication and stuff like that. So we had been talking to Dr. Sholes about inducing for that reason. And then as the pandemic hit, it became "Okay, I definitely want to induce because I don't want to wait one more week until I'm overdue." Because who knows what it's gonna look like then because again, there was no toilet paper at all in Brookings. Like, I didn't know how bad things are going to get. So that was a kind of the same plan. That definitely solidified our decision to induce.
What did it mean to have your husband with you during delivery?
It meant everything to have my husband there. Yeah, everything. That was the part I was most nervous about, like, I could do it in a mask I don't think I would. I'm obviously I could and I would have no choice. But like, I definitely wouldn't have wanted to give birth that way without him there. And he wouldn't want it either, you know, it's not just the support for me, it's meeting his first child, like, that's really important.
How did the staff support you during deliver?
They talked us through everything when we had questions about things, helping us through all of that. They kept the room nice and dark. And when they came in to do checks and stuff, it wasn't intrusive or anything like that, we felt really taken care of the entire time. And even afterwards, I was talking to my husband about this last night. Like we went to the prep classes and everything like that, but he's like, "I feel like we could have easily done it without the classes." Because the nurses prepare you so well before you leave, they talk you through how to bathe your baby, how to dress them, how to get them in a car seat, like, all these things. He's like, they did such a good job explaining how to take care of a baby that we felt ready to leave, like, we had the information that we needed.
What did you appreciate most about your care?
I think it was that there's a few things that came up that we were concerned about, like, a couple of ultrasounds weren't very clear. And at no point were they like, "Oh, it's okay." You know, it was very much like, "Okay, let's do that again to make sure that we know exactly what is going on." So I felt like the level of care was very good, where if there was a concern, they took it seriously and made sure that we had the answers we needed.
How was your postpartum recovery?
I feel like immediately after Johanna was born and she was safe and in our arms, my anxiety level, like, went down so much because I'm like, "Okay, she's here." Like, I can see her. I know she's okay. I know I can protect her. So I think mentally as soon as she was born, I was, like, I started to feel a lot better and had something to focus on that wasn't like doom and gloom and terror. And then beyond that, physically, yeah, everything, I feel like I healed up really well and quickly. And all of that went well. We did an e-visit, I think it was about two weeks because they weren't seeing people in-person. And then we did an in-person checkup at about six weeks for me, my postpartum care, so.
Why did you deliver at Brookings Health System?
When it came to the decision of where I wanted to give birth and do all of the prenatal care, I definitely wanted to do something that was based in Brookings. I didn't want to worry about driving to another community, like who knew how fast labor would go, I wanted to make sure that it was as smooth and easy as possible. So Brookings Hospital was, I mean, the number one choice and I'm really glad that we chose that. I think kind of going into it, I was a little nervous, just being a more rural and small community that they weren't going to have all the supplies and knowledge that you would in a larger community. But I learned during the process that they have like 35, 30, 35 babies every single month and I'm like, "Okay, they got this, like, they know what they're doing." And I definitely think there's, I mean, once you're here and up there and the equipment, the staff, everything is exceptional, there wasn't anything that I feel like would have been any better in a bigger community. I think everything that's here is top of the line, they know what they're doing.
Would you recommend Brookings Health System?
I think the big perk for me is that it is so close. They say to practice, like, your route to the hospital in case it's going quickly and we literally take two turns to get here and we can be here in under, like, four minutes. Like, that's nice and easy and simple to get to. So I think even just the proximity it's great so you feel prepared and feel like you're ready to go.
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