July 20, 2024

Taylor and Micah Spears wanted to start a family but were concerned there was something wrong.

With the recommendation of a friend who was a doula, they drove from Cecilia, Kentucky, near Elizabethtown, to Norton Clark Hospital in Jeffersonville, Indiana, for help. Knowing they also wanted their first birth experience to include a midwife, they initially met with a certified nurse midwife, Alison Reid, R.N., CNM, CLC. Their conversation was informative and eye-opening. Alison suspected Taylor could have polycystic ovary syndrome, and transferred her care to Christopher Grady, M.D., an OB/GYN in Jeffersonville.

“Our midwives are very good. Alison immediately recognized the symptoms of PCOS and did the right thing by recommending testing and reassigning care to me. PCOS is frequently underdiagnosed due to the variety of symptoms that present,” Dr. Grady said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women with PCOS are insulin-resistant and prone to Type 2 diabetes. It is one of the most common causes of infertility. Women with PCOS can develop serious health issues, especially if they are overweight. These issues include diabetes, gestational diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and stroke.

“Having PCOS places an expectant mother and her baby at high risk for complications during pregnancy and delivery similar to having gestational diabetes,” Dr. Grady said.

“Dr. Grady was honest and caring. He listened and knew all about PCOS to prevent me from developing more issues,” Taylor said. “He explained everything clearly, and I was confident we were in the right place.”

Taylor’s pregnancy was going well. At 34 weeks, she had started undergoing twice-weekly fetal non-stress tests. During the second week, it showed an increase in amniotic fluid. Taylor learned from Ronald Wright, M.D., another OB/GYN at the same practice as Dr. Grady, that the condition could cause early labor.

The next day, Taylor’s family held a baby shower. Everyone was excitedly anticipating the birth of a grandchild and great-grandchild. The following day, as Taylor was bending over to start the bath, her water broke.

Taylor called Dr. Grady’s office and was told to come to Norton Clark Hospital make sure everything was OK. The concern was that she could develop an infection. Dawn Moravec, R.N., was Taylor’s nurse and monitored her nearly the entire time she was in the labor and delivery unit. Neonatal nurse practitioner Christine Cooper, APRN, MSN, NNP-BC spoke with Taylor frequently.

“My birth team, especially my nurse Dawn, made me feel calm; they were capable and gave it to me straight without scaring me,” Taylor said. “I appreciated that.”

“My little Graham was already big at a little over 6 pounds and nearly 35 weeks along, and they wanted to go ahead and deliver him to avoid potential infection.”

Taylor knew that the hospital had a Level II neonatal intensive care unit affiliated with Norton Children’s Hospital and that the baby would receive excellent care once he arrived. Hospitals with a Level II NICU can care for babies born at 32 to 35 weeks who may have moderate medical issues and are expected to recover relatively quickly.

After Graham Thomas Spears entered the world, he did not take that first, big breath. The NICU team took over and helped him do just that.

“After they helped him breathe and cleaned him up, they brought him to me. When he opened his eyes and looked at me, I knew he was OK,” Taylor said.

With Taylor’s hormones in high gear, her nurse Dawn made sure to move her into a room right across from the NICU so she could see baby Graham often.

“The entire team of NICU nurses were all so caring and accommodating,” Taylor said.

“Baby Graham had trouble eating and stayed in the NICU 17 days until he was able to maintain his weight,” Dr. Grady said.

“The lactation consultants helped me try to breastfeed but were not pushy.

They conveyed sensitivity showing me how to hold Graham to feed,” Taylor said. “I had to pump to feed him at first, but because of their help, I was able to start exclusively breastfeeding when he was around 2 months old.

“While no one wants a NICU stay, ours was a bit of a blessing in disguise as we learned so much from the nurses. We brought him home with a sense of relief and the comfort of feeling prepared to take care of him.”

Taylor’s family had recently experienced dark times with severe illness and had family members pass away.

“This precious boy has breathed new life into our families,” Taylor said. “Graham has become their new light.”

“I tell anyone who is trying to get pregnant or looking for a place to have their baby, there is an incredible place with a stellar staff in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Our birth experience at Norton Clark Hospital was one we will never forget, and the staff hold a special place in our hearts.”

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