Something I love about my job is telling the stories of the wonderful people we have at St. Luke’s.
But it is one thing to write about it – seeing it up close is a completely different experience.
My life changed forever Nov. 10, and I gained a new appreciation for what our team members can do, how much they care and how committed they are to top-notch care.
At 2:42 p.m. that day, my wife Lisa and I welcomed our first child, our daughter Kennedy Grace Southorn. It surely was a routine day for everyone in scrubs, but for us and so many other parents – especially new ones – every moment was significant, exciting and scary at the same time.
Lisa has been seeing Dr. Suzanne Rice at Women’s Health Associates for about four years. She kept Lisa’s head up when we tried and tried the past few years to have a baby. Dr. Rice and her team have been incredible every step of the way, answering every question we had, keeping us informed and making us feel great when letting us know how well our upcoming baby was doing.
You can never be 100% prepared for something like childbirth, but Dr. Rice’s team and some virtual help made a big difference.
Patient educators Stephanie Bishop and Tori West led the online classes we took through St. Luke’s on birth preparation, childcare basics and breastfeeding. Both were kind, helpful resources that truly did help us feel as ready as we could be.
When the day of the birth came, we were in good hands with “the Kellies” – RNs Kelli Goodall and Kelly Starry. Anything Lisa needed, they were there. It wasn’t more evident than when Starry was a literal shoulder to lean on as Lisa went through some major contractions right before getting her epidural.
“I was squeezing her shoulder so hard, I was afraid I was going to hurt her!” Lisa said.
Again, everyone in the labor and delivery unit stepped up when we went from thinking the baby was coming in the evening to realizing the process sped up considerably. They did an incredible job explaining every monitor, every check, what they were seeing, which made it all less daunting.
The team rushed in to help give a CSE (combined spinal-epidural) just as our lunch got there – Lisa got one single bite of mashed potatoes before she knew the time was at hand. I’ve never eaten more quickly or with such anxiety!
The Kellies and Dr. Rice were amazing during the delivery, being incredibly encouraging with Lisa and keeping us updated on everything going on. As Lisa pushed, Kennedy’s heart rate would drop, meaning the umbilical cord was around her. I’ve seen my share of TV and movies, and it freaked me out.
But everyone else in that room was focused on the task at hand, never showing worry. Once she was almost out, a nurse hit the call button for the NICU. On the screen, she had hit the button with a little heart on it. I tried to be calm for my wife, who of course was oblivious.
Once our daughter arrived, she looked a little blue and didn’t immediately cry, but after a minute or so passed, we heard her little voice for the first time. The NICU team arrived at that moment but didn’t even make it past the curtain. One of the Kellies said Kennedy was fine, and I’ve never been more relieved.
After Dr. Rice finished up and left the room, Lisa leaned over to me and said, “Is it weird I wanted to tell her I love her?” No, it wasn’t. Years of Dr. Rice being so supportive and helpful culminated in a moment we had long been waiting for, herself never wavering.
The care we got ramped up once we went into the recovery room. There was no shortage of new faces to come in and check everything you can imagine on mom and baby. Everyone wanted them to be OK.
Alejandra Ramirez, our night RN, was so patient and helpful to us first-timers, as was CNA Andrea Phelps. CNA Tammy Maybee was such a bright spot, giving us some great parenting tips as she gave Kennedy her first bath, then gave us two hand-knit caps from right here in Boise. Just before we left, Jennifer Ellis was so helpful showing us everything we needed to know about our car seat to keep Kennedy safe – and demonstrating it.
As if we couldn’t have been happier about our experience, about two days after we settled in at home, we got Kennedy’s first piece of mail. Inside was a card from Goodall, Starry and Ramirez thanking us for letting them take care of our family.
But truly, the biggest thank you goes to them. They made our life-changing experience all we could ever want it to be. I am proud to work at St. Luke’s because of people like them.
Dave Southorn works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.