Childbirth without Pain Medication
“It’s amazing, what kind of bonding happens when a baby is born.”
Ask 10 different women to describe the ideal way to deliver a baby, and you’re likely to hear 10 different scenarios. But no matter the path taken during labor and delivery, the desired outcome remains the same: a healthy birth. Every day, the OBs in EvergreenHealth’s Family Maternity Center help women deliver on this outcome and, along the way, write their own stories of choice and success.
For Bellevue resident Kristin Olson, 30, delivering her first baby at EvergreenHealth seemed natural. “My OB, Dr. Dawn Russell, had come very highly recommended by several girlfriends,” Kristin recalls. “I’d also heard good things about EvergreenHealth and their advocacy for natural birth and breastfeeding, which was important to my husband and me.”
Kristin had come to a place where mothers, babies and choices are celebrated. For nine years running, EvergreenHealth has been awarded a 5-Star rating for maternity care from industry expert HealthGrades. Additionally, EvergreenHealth’s recently launched hospital-based midwifery service offers patients another option for a low-intervention experience in a safe and welcoming environment.
Having a birth with an OB doesn’t mean patients are without choices, however. “I think most EvergreenHealth OBs adhere to the thought that birth is a natural phenomenon, not a medical intervention, and are very supportive of birth choices,” Dr. Russell explains. “I really feel it’s a patient’s choice, and we’re there not to intervene unless there’s an issue of keeping mom or baby safe.”
Initially, Kristin had desired a completely drug-free birth, in adherence to the Bradley Method of natural childbirth that she and her husband had studied in the weeks leading up to her due date. But at two weeks overdue, Kristin was induced, using the drug Pitocin. “After that, my goal for natural childbirth shifted to laboring without pain meds,” she says.
Dr. Russell believes a key to Kristin’s success was her flexibility. “I ask patients to have birth preferences – things they would like to have happen,” she says. “Our primary goal is a healthy outcome, and it helps to be flexible. In Kristin’s case, her plan changed when we had to induce her. But the outcome – a healthy birth – remained the same.”
Kristin also remembers the flexibility and support of the Family Maternity Center staff. “I give the nurses a great deal of credit for reading my birth plan and adhering to it,” she shares. “I put in a request for nurses who were familiar and comfortable with the Bradley Method, and both our day- and night-shift nurses were great.”
Through it all, Kristin Olson and her husband appreciated EvergreenHealth’s collaborative spirit. “After baby Davis was born, my natural inclination was to hold him right away to my chest to see that he tried to nurse,” Kristin says. “It was great to be in a place that allowed that immediate contact. It made the 15 hours of labor totally worth it.”
“Everyone was really, really a team,” Kristin says. “Dr. Russell, our doula, the nurses. It’s amazing what kind of bonding happens when a baby is born. It’s pretty awesome.”