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Seamless transition: Mother says WellSpan Chambersburg birthing experience was like ‘having a sister in the room’

July 28, 2020

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Byers

Byers

Sarah Byers, of Fort Loudon, who welcomed her daughter, Atalie, July 13, is gratefully settling in as a mother of three.

Byers says giving birth during a pandemic certainly brought with it some unexpected precautions.

 “This entire pregnancy, I felt like I kept rolling with the punches. Being tested for COVID was an experience in itself,” recalled Byers.

But protocols related to COVID-19 were not the only change Byers experienced, she is one of the first who has had their care transferred from WellSpan Waynesboro Hospital to WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital following announced plans to consolidate birthing services in Franklin County.

“That is where I had based my familiarity, I knew they supported moms who wanted to have a more natural birth,” said Byers who had previously delivered two children in Waynesboro.  “I was concerned I was not going to have the natural experience and that ended up not being a problem at all.”

Part of Byers’ care team at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital included Dr. Sulang Rosado, WellSpan OB/GYN.  As part of the transition of care, Dr. Rosado had a virtual visit a few days before to introduce herself and discuss any concerns.

“As part of the decision to transfer services to WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital, our goal is to honor the birth plans of our expecting mothers and deliver on our philosophy of providing the right care in the right place,” said Dr. Sulang Rosado, WellSpan OB/GYN.  “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to learn more about Sarah by speaking with her virtually, connecting with her care team, and carefully reviewing not only her medical records, but what she most valued in her birthing experience so my team could ensure the continuity of her care and expectations.”

The delivery

Heading into WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital, Byers says she didn’t have a formal birth plan.

I had ideas of the more natural route as possible,” said Byers. “That is one of the key things that is known about Waynesboro that I was afraid I was going to lose that aspect, I was also afraid I wouldn’t have people advocating for me for a natural process and I ended up having the most natural birth possible with the only little bit of intervention being the initial medication.”

Byers says communication with her care team about her wishes allowed her to have the experience she was hoping for.

“I told her (the nurse) that I wanted a more natural process, and she offered the portable monitor.”

With the portable monitor, her care team could ensure her daughter’s heart rate stayed in a (healthy) range. Byers says she was able to walk around and use a birthing ball to progress her labor, naturally. She was also appreciative of the compassion her team showed her along the way.

“I never felt rushed, I talked a lot to the nurses and told them why I was afraid of change and they were very understanding, and they listened and eased my fears.”

Byers chose not to have an epidural, and found her nurse, Amy to be supportive and encouraging through the process.

“She was like having a sister in the room, I mean she was so supportive and right there.  I could not have asked for someone better to be with me in the later stages of labor.”

When Atalie was ready to arrive, Byers recalled her nurse Amy and Dr. Rosado working like a “well-oiled machine.” 

“Dr. Rosado herself, while I was pushing, I felt like she was pushing with me.  I will never forget that, mentally it felt like I had the doctor on my team helping me.”

The transition

WellSpan Health announced at the beginning of July all birthing services will transfer from WellSpan Waynesboro Hospital to WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital, in a phased approach, to be finalized by September 18.  Patients will continue to have access to prenatal, postnatal and gynecological care at WellSpan OB/GYN’s office in Waynesboro, but expectant mothers will deliver at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital.

Some patients have already been transitioned to deliver at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital, where the mothers and newborns have access to enhanced specialized care, including a neonatal intensive care unit.

Byers says her initial concerns were eased by the compassionate care she experienced.  She hopes sharing her story will help other patients approach their transition of care more confidently.

“I want to express the fact that my thing with Waynesboro is that I was just comfortable there and the more natural approach. I didn’t know another facility could be that way,” said Byers. “Just be open and honest about your birth plan and the nurses and doctors will 100 percent work with you as long as it is safe—they did for me, for sure.”