Rachel Dahlquist missed delivering in the new Birthing Center by just two days. Her daughter, Kathryn Ann, arrived 2 weeks early on July 24, 2018. She weighed 6 lbs 6 ounces and was 19 inches long. While Rachel says the old area was “very nice, with private bathrooms and enough seating for significant others,” she loves the new Birth Center.
Dahlquist spends time there now because she’s a FirstLight care coordination nurse who sometimes works with her obstetrics colleagues and their patients.
In particular, Dahlquist loves that each room has a tub, as soaking in water helps ease labor tension and pain. Dahlquist likes that the Birth Center provides exercise balls. Plus, the Birth Center has portable monitors so the expectant moms aren’t stuck to anything; they have freedom to move around as labor progresses.
Delivering a baby among friends and coworkers
Dahlquist knew that she would receive the best care possible at FirstLight. After all, she was among her friends and colleagues.
“Having a baby is an exciting event to share with people you know and who care about you,” said Dahlquist. “Delivering at FirstLight was just an awesome experience. Throughout our stay, the nurses took such good care of us—the time and patience they showed was so wonderful.”
After her daughter was born, her colleagues continued to support the first-time mom.
“I personally struggled with breastfeeding after we left the hospital,” said Dahlquist. “When we came in postpartum, my colleagues took time out of their day to help me and Kate make it work.”
Experiencing the ultimate gender reveal
For Dahlquist and her husband, Marcus, there were no cascading pink or blue pieces of paper from a popped balloon at a gender-reveal party. The couple wanted a true gender reveal.
“There aren’t many surprises in life,” opined Dahlquist. “And you don’t get this one very often, maybe only a time or two more.” So when Marcus announced, “It’s a girl!” it was “the best thing ever” for the new mom. He said it so loudly that nurses outside of the room heard him.
Baby Kate’s 12:49 a.m. arrival capped a long day for the expectant parents. When Dahlquist woke up on July 23, she thought maybe her water had broke in the middle of the night. Unsure, she went into work figuring that she’d learn more at her scheduled 9 a.m. appointment with her physician, Dr. Ryan Gaalswyk. Dr. Gaalswyk is board certified in family medicine and emergency medicine, and has specialties in obstetrics and gynecology, women’s health, preventive medicine, and chronic disease management.
‘Leaving with a baby’
At the appointment, Dr. Gaalswyk told her she’d be “leaving with a baby.” Her water had indeed broken, and the baby was preparing for the grand exit. Dahlquist was admitted and spent all of her labor at FirstLight.
When Dahlquist reached about six centimeters dilation, she got an epidural, which helped her to relax. Throughout the evening, nurses checked her progress to determine whether or not it was time to push.
For a while, labor progressed slowly, but then it was time to push. Dr. Gaalswyk was there for the entire hour and 40 minutes of pushing.
Welcoming Baby Kate
The Dahlquists have settled in well to parenthood. They love being with their baby and watching her personality unfold. They also love seeing her interact with their own parents, who adore their granddaughter. On Rachel’s side, Kate is the first grandchild; on Marcus’s side, she’s the fourth.
“We bring her everywhere—and we go a lot of places,” said Dahlquist. “We haven’t let her slow us down too much, though we have learned how nice it is to just stay home.”
Overall, Kate is a happy baby who rarely cries—she makes a great traveling companion.