Alice Evenson always wanted to be a mom. But, at just 22, she learned she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. While treatable, she was told the medication might prevent her from having children. “It was scary. My biggest fear if I survive was whether I could be a mom. All I ever wanted to be was a mom.”
Luckily, her wish came true. “I proved them wrong. Each time I see my Oncologist for a follow-up he says, ‘you’ve had another kid?’”
That’s right. Another kid. Today, Alice is a proud mother of five boys and one girl—all of whom were born at Memorial Medical Center in Ashland.
“I’ve always had such a wonderful experience at MMC,” she says. “Everyone from the nursing team to the staff who clean my room and deliver my meals is kind and caring. “ While each delivery has been different, she says there is a common theme among all of them. “It is clear everyone cares about me and my experience.”
This compassion starts well before delivery. “The first time I didn’t necessarily know what to expect but the nurses were so helpful. They helped me understand what was going to happen and since then, they’ve always worked with me before to understand what I want and then respect my wishes.“
Questions focus around the mother’s health history but also her expectations during delivery. At the core of all of these questions is creating a safe birthing environment while providing the experience the mother desires.
For Alice, most of her births were uncomplicated. But, when her fourth son Charlie was born, the cord was wrapped around his neck twice. Looking back, she says the response from the MMC care team reaffirmed why she chose MMC for her care.
“It made me realize why I wanted to have all of my babies at MMC. It was reassuring to know that the expertise and medical equipment was all right there in case the unexpected happens. I’m not sure I’d get that anywhere else in town.”
In addition to the medical expertise, there is also a commitment to honoring a mother’s wishes. “We really listen to each mom to understand her values and needs before, during and after pregnancy,” explains OB Nurse Manager Maria Green. “We understand that each birthing experience is unique and will do everything we can to make this life changing experience meet a mother’s expectations.”
Pain management, who should be present in the room at the time of delivery and plans for baby and mom post birth are all part of these ongoing conversations. “We look at each delivery as a partnership, with mom in the center of the equation,” Green says.
This partnership also includes the physician delivering. In many cases, the physician caring for mom throughout her pregnancy is the one delivering. For Alice, this has been a reassuring and unique aspect of each delivery.
St. Luke’s Chequamegon Clinic family practice provider Dr. Hammond has cared for Alice and her family since before her cancer diagnosis. “It is so nice to have a doctor who knows my health history, take care of me during my pregnancy and deliver my babies. Now, all of my children are seeing her as they grow-up. It is nice to have this strong connection with your doctor who knows and understands your entire medical history.”