When it comes to giving birth, some things are out of your hands.
But for expecting parents Kristen and Louie McCoy, their care team and St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood made all the difference when Kristen’s plans took a sudden turn.
“I had envisioned doing a tub birth, but when we went in for our ultrasound at 40 weeks, they estimated our baby would be 10 pounds, 13 ounces,” Kristen says. “They were almost positive I’d need a Cesarean."
It was hard for Kristen to accept that she would probably need a C-section, and she couldn’t visualize having her second baby that way after delivering her first vaginally. Luckily, her OB-GYN Megan McEllistrem, DO, agreed to be flexible.
“Most doctors would automatically sign us up for a C-section," Kristen says. "But Dr. McEllistrem was willing to wait and see."
Louie took Kristen to St. John’s to be induced two days later.
When they arrived at the hospital, the couple was impressed.
“The whole experience was really, really great,” Kristen says. “Dr. McEllistrem tried to break my water, but my baby was still too high and she couldn’t reach. She planned to try again later after Pitocin started moving things along.”
Once her contractions started, Kristen chose to manage her pain by staying active. As an exercise lover, she wanted to make sure she could walk around but also shower and bathe. She was happy that her room at St. John’s allowed all of the above.
“I very much appreciated being able to relax in a bathtub during my contractions, since I didn’t have that at the previous hospital I birthed at,” Kristen says. "I was also able to walk around the unit and dance to my hip hop playlist. They had waterproof, wireless equipment — a Bluetooth fetal monitoring system — we could take with us around the unit. We loved that!”
Dr. McEllistrem came back a couple hours later to check on Kristen’s progress.
“I was at 2 or 3 centimeters, and then Dr. McEllistrem was able to break my water," Kristen says. "After that, my contractions started picking up — getting regular and intense.”
While that was exciting news, that’s also when Kristen started feeling a lot of pain.
“My baby was head down, but facing the wrong direction," she says. "That’s when it occurred to me I could actually deliver vaginally and asked for an epidural as soon as possible. My nurse immediately started setting it up and was on a mission to make sure I got it when I needed it."
That sped up Kristen’s labor at a remarkable pace.
“I went from 4 to 10 centimeters within two hours,” Kristen says. “It was so nice that the clinic Dr. McEllistrem works at is right across the street. She was able to run across the street to be with me."
Kristen was also touched by the support of her nurses.
“One of our nurses had just gotten off the clock and stayed to make sure she could help me when I was pushing,” Kristen says. “Our nurse said, ‘I’m not going to leave before this baby gets born!’ I loved being surrounded by a care team who truly wanted the best for me.”
Ten minutes later, Kristen and Louie’s beautiful baby boy was born.
“My baby was on my chest within seconds,” Kristen says. “The last place I gave birth, I wasn’t able to have much alone time with my baby until she was cleaned and all checked. At St. John’s, we still had the care team around doing what they needed to, but we felt like we had our moment together.”
When given the option of staying another day or leaving within 24 hours, Kristen and Louie chose to stay.
"Instead of getting rushed right after birth, we were able to have time and be grateful for our new baby,” Louie says. “The labor room was the same room Kristen recovered in, so we were able to set things up comfortably."
With their family together in their own cozy room, Louie says: "It felt like home for a couple of days."
If you’re looking for a place that supports you during every step of your delivery, book a tour at one of our Birthplaces.